Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and vegetarian status among Seventh-Day Adventists in Barbados: preliminary results.


Brathwaite N, Fraser HS, Modeste N, Broome H, King R.

Year Published: 



Ethn Dis.


Study Design: 


A population-based sample of Seventh-Day Adventists was studied to determine the relationship between vegetarian status, body mass index (BMI), obesity, diabetes mellitus (DM), and hypertension, in order to gain a better understanding of factors influencing chronic diseases in Barbados. A systematic sampling from a random start technique was used to select participants for the study. A standard questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic and lifestyle characteristics, to record anthropometrics and blood pressure measurements, and to ascertain the hypertension and diabetes status of participants. The sample population consisted of 407 Barbadian Seventh-Day Adventists (SDAs), who ranged in age from 25 to 74 years. One hundred fifty-three (37.6%) participants were male, and 254 (62.4%) were female, and 43.5% were vegetarians. The prevalence rates of diabetes and hypertension were lower among long-term vegetarians, compared to non-vegetarians, and long-term vegetarians were, on average, leaner than non-vegetarians within the same cohort. A significant association was observed between a vegetarian diet and obesity (vegetarian by definition P=.04, self-reported vegetarian P=.009) in this population. Other components of the study population lifestyle should be further analyzed to determine the roles they may plan in lessening the prevalence rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.