ORLANDO, Nov. 6 Foregoing food for a day each month stood out among other religious practices in members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormons), who have lower rates of heart disease than other Americans, researchers reported at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2007.
People who fast seem to receive a heart-protective benefit, and this appeared to also hold true in non-LDS people who fast as part of a health-conscious lifestyle, said Benjamin D. Horne, Ph.D., M.P.H., study author and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
In the 1970s, scientists recognized that Latter-Day Saints (LDS) in Utah are less likely to die of heart disease than other Utah residents and Americans overall. The religious prohibition against tobacco use is usually credited for the health benefit, but researchers wondered whether other religious teachings also may be important.
Researchers first examined the records of the Intermountain Heart Collaborative Study registry comprised of patients who had undergone coronary angiography, an X-ray examination of the blood vessels of the heart to look for blockages, between 1994 and 2002. Of those patients, 4,629 men and women, average age 64, could clearly be diagnosed either with coronary artery disease (CAD) which is at least 70 percent narrowing or blockage detected in at least one artery, or as free of significant CAD less than 10 percent narrowing or blockage. As expected, CAD was less prevalent in patients who identified their religious preference as LDS than those who stated another or no religious preference. Sixty-one percent of LDS members had CAD versus 66 percent of others.
When we adjusted for smoking, or looked just at the nonsmokers, we still found a lower rate of CAD in people having an LDS religious preference, Hor
|Contact: Karen Astle|
American Heart Association