Metabolic characteristics of breakfast-vegetarian (BV) elderly people in rural Taiwan.


Juang SJ, Peng LN, Lin MH, Lai HY, Hwang SJ, Chen LK, Chiou ST.

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Arch Gerontol Geriatr


Study Design: 


Breakfast-vegetarianism (BV) is a special dietary habit in Chinese society, which is related to religious beliefs rather than health concerns. The purpose of this study was to compare metabolic characteristics of community-living middle-aged and elderly BV and non-vegetarians (NVs) in Taiwan. In 2000, people aged over 40 in I-Lan County were invited for study. In total, 367 people (mean age: 62.0+/-11.2 years, 57.8% female) participated in this study and 68 of them were BV. The BV subjects were less likely to consume oily food (29.4% vs. 43.1%, p=0.025), to smoke (5.9% vs. 23.1%, p<0.001) and to habitually consume alcohol (2.9% vs. 19.1%, p<0.001). Compared with NVs, the BVs were more prone to be females (86.8% vs. 44.7%, p<0.001), having lower glomerular filtration rate (GFR) (64.5+/-13.7 vs. 69.9+/-14.6ml/(kgmin), p=0.006), higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome (69.1% vs. 45.8%, p<0.001) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) (44.1% vs. 22.7%, p<0.001). By using logistic regression, females and chronic kidney disease were independently associated with the breakfast-vegetarianism. In conclusion, Taiwanese BVs seemed to lead a healthier life, but their metabolic characteristics were not significantly different from the NVs. Outcome study is needed to clarify the impact of BV habits on health.