Atherosclerosis develops over a long period of time and often begins in childhood. The goal of this study was to make a cross-sectional assessment of the pattern of cardiovascular disease risk factors among Australian vegetarian (n = 49) and nonvegetarian (n = 639) 14- to 17-year-old participants from New South Wales, Australia. Vegetarians had statistically significant lower mean total (4.05 vs 4.4 mmol/L;P <.001) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (2.18 vs 2.55 mmol/L; P <.001) and lower incidence of abnormal total and LDL cholesterol (31.1% vs 46.2%, P =.036, having total cholesterol ≥4.4 mmol/L and 13.3% vs 29.6%, P =.021, having LDL cholesterol ≥2.84 mmol/L). Vegetarians had a higher diastolic BP (72.0 vs 69.7 mm Hg; P =.038). No statistically significant difference was found in other risk factors including high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P =.83), triglycerides (P =.601), systolic blood pressure (P =.727), body mass index (P =.159), plasma glucose (P =.09), C-reactive protein (P =.527), or homocysteine (P =.45). The prevalence rate with 3 or more risk factors was 12.2% among vegetarians and 13.9% among nonvegetarians (P =.156). The high percentage of abnormal total cholesterol in both diet groups and, in addition, LDL cholesterol in nonvegetarians is a cause of concern and underlines the need for lifestyle change.
- cardiovascular disease
- risk factors