World Bulletin / News Desk
Previous research has also suggested that non-meat eaters have fewer heart problems, said researchers publishing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, but it wasn't clear if other lifestyle differences, such as exercise and smoking habits, might also play into that.
"We're able to be slightly more certain that it is something that's in the vegetarian diet that's causing vegetarians to have a lower risk of heart disease," said Francesca Crowe, who led the new study at the University of Oxford.
Crowe and her colleagues tracked almost 45,000 people living in England and Scotland who initially reported on their diet, lifestyle and general health in the 1990s. At the start of the study, about one-third of the participants said they ate a vegetarian diet, without meat or fish.
Over the next 11 to 12 years, 1,086 of the study subjects were hospitalized for heart disease, including heart attacks, and 169 died.
After taking into account participants' ages, exercise habits and other health measures, the research team found vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to develop heart disease than carnivores. When weight was factored into the equation, the effect dropped slightly to 28 percent.
The lower heart risk was likely due to lower cholesterol and blood pressure among vegetarians in the study, the researchers said.
Meat eaters had an average total cholesterol of 222 mg/dL and a systolic blood pressure - the top number in a blood pressure reading - of 134 mm Hg, compared to 203 mg/dL total cholesterol and 131 mm Hg systolic blood pressure among vegetarians.
Diastolic blood pressure - the lower number - was similar between the two groups.
Crowe said the difference in cholesterol levels between meat eaters and vegetarians was equivalent to about half the benefit someone would see by taking a statin medication.
The effect is probably at least partly due to the lack of red meat - especially meat high in saturated fat - in vegetarians' diets, she added. The extra fruits, vegetables and higher fiber in a non-meat diet could also play a role.
However, just scaling back on saturated fat can also make a difference. Butter, ice cream, cheeses and meats all typically contain saturated fat.
No Ebola cases detected for two incubation periods, says World Health Organization
The World Health Organization and leading global health specialists have criticised Saudi Arabia for failing to properly investigate the causes of MERS.
UNICEF predicts that the number of children orphaned by Ebola – which currently stands at nearly 200 – will reach as many as 2,000
UN Article 82 could mean millions in additional costs for drilling companies.
The figures, through Nov. 16, represent a jump of 243 deaths and 732 cases since those issued last Friday, and cases continue to be under-reported, the WHO said in its latest update.
The infectious disease causes total paralysis in a matter of hours. It affects mainly children under five years of age.
The 30-year-old woman was from the province of Minya, south of Cairo. She died in a hospital in the southern city of Assiut
UNAIDS estimated that by June 2014 some 13.6 million people globally had access to antiretroviral medicines - a dramatic improvement on the 5 million who were getting treatment in 2010.
The H5N8 form of the virus has hit a Dutch chicken farm and a German turkey farm and is suspected - but not yet confirmed - as the strain that infected ducks on a British farm.
'Hidden childhood killer' drowning is among the ten leading causes of child and youth deaths, according to WHO's first global report on drowning.
More than 20 species of starfish, also called sea stars, from southern Alaska to Baja California are dying from a wasting disease
Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is a cherished part of its food culture
The new fatality brings to two the confirmed number of bird flu deaths so far this year
Drug resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages bacteria to evolve to survive and develop new ways of beating the drugs.
The country has seen a reduction in the number of new Ebola cases since the beginning of October
MSF, known also as Doctors Without Borders, is the only organisation to have worked extensively with Ebola in the last 20 years