Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 61
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    McNally, Ben Griffin, Julian L. and Roberts, Lee D. 2016. Dietary inorganic nitrate: From villain to hero in metabolic disease?. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Vol. 60, Issue. 1, p. 67.

    Wang, Jian-Bing Fan, Jin-Hu Dawsey, Sanford M. Sinha, Rashmi Freedman, Neal D. Taylor, Philip R. Qiao, You-Lin and Abnet, Christian C. 2016. Dietary components and risk of total, cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality in the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials cohort in China. Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, p. 22619.

    Foster, Meika and Samman, Samir 2015.

    Radnitz, Cynthia Beezhold, Bonnie and DiMatteo, Julie 2015. Investigation of lifestyle choices of individuals following a vegan diet for health and ethical reasons. Appetite, Vol. 90, p. 31.

    Fields, Heather Millstine, Denise and Agrwal, Neera 2014. Just Plants? Impact of a Vegetarian Diet on Mortality. Journal of Women's Health, Vol. 23, Issue. 11, p. 987.

    Li, Duo 2014. Effect of the vegetarian diet on non-communicable diseases. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 94, Issue. 2, p. 169.

    Martinez-Gonzalez, Miguel and Bes-Rastrollo, Maira 2014. Metabolic Medicine and Surgery.

    Tiwari, Vishvanath and Khokhar, Manoj 2014. Mechanism of action of anti-hypercholesterolemia drugs and their resistance. European Journal of Pharmacology, Vol. 741, p. 156.

    Buttriss, Judith 2012. Phytonutrients.

    Hankey, Graeme J 2012. Nutrition and the risk of stroke. The Lancet Neurology, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 66.

    Hawk, Susan N. Englehardt, Kimberly Grage and Small, Cindi 2012. Risks of iron deficiency among vegetarian college women. Health, Vol. 04, Issue. 03, p. 113.

    Nagao, M Iso, H Yamagishi, K Date, C and Tamakoshi, A 2012. Meat consumption in relation to mortality from cardiovascular disease among Japanese men and women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 66, Issue. 6, p. 687.

    Wyness, L. Weichselbaum, E. O'Connor, A. Williams, E. B. Benelam, B. Riley, H. and Stanner, S. 2011. Red meat in the diet: an update. Nutrition Bulletin, Vol. 36, Issue. 1, p. 34.

    2011. A Guide to Evidence-based Integrative and Complementary Medicine.

    Juang, Shiow-Jen Peng, Li-Ning Lin, Ming-Hsien Lai, Hsiu-Yun Hwang, Shinn-Jang Chen, Liang-Kung and Chiou, Shu-Ti 2010. Metabolic characteristics of breakfast-vegetarian (BV) elderly people in rural Taiwan. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Vol. 50, Issue. 1, p. 20.

    McAfee, Alison J. McSorley, Emeir M. Cuskelly, Geraldine J. Moss, Bruce W. Wallace, Julie M.W. Bonham, Maxine P. and Fearon, Anna M. 2010. Red meat consumption: An overview of the risks and benefits. Meat Science, Vol. 84, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Akhtar, Aysha Z. Greger, Michael Ferdowsian, Hope and Frank, Erica 2009. Health Professionals' Roles in Animal Agriculture, Climate Change, and Human Health. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 36, Issue. 2, p. 182.

    Luciano, F. B. 2009. The impacts of lean red meat consumption on human health: a review. CyTA - Journal of Food, Vol. 7, Issue. 2, p. 143.

    Truswell, A. Stewart 2009. Meat Consumption and Colorectal Cancer: Critique of Norat and Riboli's Review. Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 59, Issue. 11, p. 375.

    TRUSWELL, A. Stewart 2009. Dietary guidance for older Australians. Nutrition & Dietetics, Vol. 66, Issue. 4, p. 243.


Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies

  • Timothy J Key (a1), Gary E Fraser (a2), Margaret Thorogood (a3), Paul N Appleby (a1), Valerie Beral (a1), Gillian Reeves (a1), Michael L Burr (a4), Jenny Chang-Claude (a5), Rainer Frentzel-Beyme (a6), Jan W Kuzma (a7), Jim Mann (a8) and Klim McPherson (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 1998

To compare the mortality rates of vegetarians and non-vegetarians.


Collaborative analysis using original data from five prospective studies. Death rate ratios for vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians were calculated for ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancers of the stomach, large bowel, lung, breast and prostate, and for all causes of death. All results were adjusted for age, sex and smoking. A random effects model was used to calculate pooled estimates of effect for all studies combined.


USA, UK and Germany.


76, 172 men and women aged 16–89 years at recruitment. Vegetarians were those who did not eat any meat or fish (n = 27,808). Non-vegetarians were from a similar background to the vegetarians within each study.


After a mean of 10.6 years of follow-up there were 8330 deaths before the age of 90 years, including 2264 deaths from ischaemic heart disease. In comparison with non-vegetarians, vegetarians had a 24% reduction in mortality from ischaemic heart disease (death rate ratio 0.76, 95% CI 0.62–0.94). The reduction in mortality among vegetarians varied significantly with age at death: rate ratios for vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians were 0.55 (95% CI 0.35—0.85), 0.69 (95% CI 0.53–0.90) and 0.92 (95% CI 0.73–1.16) for deaths from ischaemic heart disease at ages <65, 65–79 and 80–89 years, respectively. When the non-vegetarians were divided into regular meat eaters (who ate meat at least once a week) and semi-vegetarians (who ate fish only or ate meat less than once a week), the ischaemic heart disease death rate ratios compared to regular meat eaters were 0.78 (95% CI 0.68–0.89) in semi-vegetarians and 0.66 (95% CI 0.53–0.83) in vegetarians (test for trend P<0.001). There were no significant differences between vegetarians and non-vegetarians in mortality from the other causes of death examined.


Vegetarians have a lower risk of dying from ischaemic heart disease than non-vegetarians.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: E-mail
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2M Thorogood . The epidemiology of vegetarianism and health. Nutr. Res. Rev. 1995; 8: 179–92.

3DA Snowdon , RL Phillips , GE Fraser . Meat consumption and fatal ischemic heart disease. Prev. Med. 1984; 13: 490500.

4GE Fraser , J Sabaté , WL Beeson , TM Strahan . A possible protective effect of nut consumption on risk of coronary heart disease. Arch. Intern. Med. 1992; 152: 1416–24.

6J Chang-Claude , R Frentzel-Beyme , U Eilber . Mortality pattern of German vegetarians after 11 years of follow-up. Epidemiology 1992; 3: 395401.

7M Thorogood , J Mann , P Appleby , K McPherson . Risk of death from cancer and ischaemic heart disease in meat and non-meat eaters. Br. Med. J. 1994; 308: 1667–71.

8JD Potter . Nutrition and colorectal cancer. Cancer Causes Control 1996; 7: 127–46.

9NF Boyd , LJ Martin , M Noffel , GA Lockwood , DL Tritchler . A meta-analysis of studies of dietary fat and breast cancer risk. Br. J. Cancer 1993; 68: 627–36.

17R DerSimonian , N Laird . Meta-analysis in clinical trials. Control Clin. Trials 1986; 7: 177–88.

19TJA Key , M Thorogood , PN Appleby , ML Burr . Dietary habits and mortality in 11000 vegetarians and health conscious people: results of a 17-year follow-up. Br. Med. J. 1996; 313: 775–9.

20JP Vandenbroucke . Should you eat meat, or are you confounded by methodological debate? Br. Med. J. 1994; 308: 1671.

23M Thorogood , R Carter , L Benfield , K McPherson , JI Mann . Plasma lipids and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations in people with different diets in Britain. Br. Med. J. 1987; 295: 351–3

24M Malter , G Schriever , U Eilber . Natural killer cells, vitamins, and other blood components of vegetarian and omnivorous men. Nutr. Cancer 1989; 12: 271–8.

26MR Law , NJ Wald , T Wu , A Hackshaw , A Bailey . Systematic underestimation of association between serum cholesterol concentration and ischaemic heart disease in observational studies: data from the BUPA study. Br. Med. J. 1994; 308: 363–62.

28WC Willett , MJ Stampfer , GA Colditz , BA Rosner , FE Speizer . Relation of meat, fat, and fibre intake to the risk of colon cancer in a prospective study among women. N. Engl. J. Med. 1990; 323: 1664–72.

30RM Bostick , JD Potter , LH Kushi , Sugar, meat, and fat intake and non-dietary risk factors for colon cancer incidence in Iowa women. Cancer Causes Control 1994; 5: 3852.

32MJ Thun , EE Calle , MM Namboodiri , Risk factors for fatal colon cancer in a large prospective study. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 1992; 84: 1491–500.

33AJ Tuyns , M Haelterman R Kaaks . Colorectal cancer and the intake of nutrients: oligosaccharides are a risk factor, fats are not. A case-control study in Belgium. Nutr. Cancer 1987; 10: 108–96.

34PK Mills , WL Beeson , RL Phillips , GE Fraser . Dietary habits and breast cancer incidence among Seventh-day Adventists. Cancer 1989; 64: 582–90.

35DN Rao , B Ganesh , PB Desai . Role of reproductive factors in breast cancer in a low-risk area: a case-control study. Br. J. Cancer 1994; 70: 129–32.

36DJ Hunter , D Spiegelman , H-0 Adami , Cohort studies of fat intake and the risk of breast cancer –a pooled analysis. N. Engl. J. Med. 1996; 334: 356–61.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *