Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality eInterview with: Michael J. Orlich, M.D.

Program Director
Preventive Medicine Residency
Loma Linda University
Research Fellow, Adventist Health Studies What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Orlich: The main findings were these.

Vegetarians, as we defined them, had reduced risk of death during the study period compared to non-vegetarians.

This was true also for particular vegetarian diets including for vegans, lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and pesco-vegetarians.  Reduced risk was seen in particular for deaths related to disease of the heart, kidneys, and diabetes.

Findings were stronger in men than women. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Orlich:  No findings were entirely unexpected to us.  The strength of the beneficial association for deaths from kidney disease is quite interesting, though this finding is based on small numbers and should be considered as preliminary. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Orlich: Several types of vegetarian diets can be healthful approaches to eating that may be associated with reduced mortality and increased longevity. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Orlich: We particularly want to explore which foods may explain some of the beneficial association of vegetarian dietary patterns with reduced mortality.


Orlich MJ, Singh P, Sabaté J, et al. Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-8. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6473.

Last Updated on September 19, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD