Chronic disease among Seventh-day Adventists, a low-risk group. Rationale, methodology, and description of the population.


Beeson WL and Mills PK and Phillips RL and Andress M and Fraser GE

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The Adventist Health Study is a prospective cohort study of 34,198 non-Hispanic white Seventh-day Adventists (13,857 men; 20,341 women, age 25-100 years) followed for 6 years (1977-1982). Within this population, 55.2% were lacto-ovovegetarian (consumed meat, poultry, or fish less than one time per week with no restrictions as to egg or dairy product consumption) in 1976 and most abstained from alcohol, tobacco, and pork products. Baseline data included demographic variables, information on current and past dietary habits, exercise patterns, use of prescription drugs, use of alcohol and tobacco, measures of religiosity, occupation and residential histories, anthropometric data, and menstrual and reproductive histories. Nonfatal case ascertainment was completed through review of self-reported hospitalizations obtained from annual self-administered mailed questionnaires and through computerized record linkage with two California population-based tumor registries. Fatal case ascertainment was completed via record linkage with computerized California state death certificate files, the National Death Index, and individual follow-up. During the 6 years of follow-up, 52.8% of the 34,198 study subjects reported at least one hospitalization. A total of 20,702 medical charts were reviewed for cancer and cardiovascular disease incidence and 1406 incident cancer cases and 2716 deaths from all causes were identified after baseline data collection.