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CANCER-DEATH RISK 40% LESS FOR VEGETARIANS THAN MEAT-EATERS

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Vegetarians are 40 percent less likely to die of cancer than meat-eaters, researchers in Britain and New Zealand reported Thursday.

The report, which supports other studies, also finds vegetarians are less likely to die of heart disease."Non-meat eaters had significantly lower standardized mortality ratios for all causes, ischaemic heart disease and cancer than meat eaters," the report in the British Medical Journal said.

Jim Mann at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, studied 6,000 vegetarians and 5,000 of their meat-eating friends and relatives to try to make sure lifestyle, geographical and other factors did not affect the outcome.

He and colleagues compared death rates from cancer, heart disease and other causes over 12 years. After allowing for the effects of smoking, weight and social class, they found death rates were significantly lower for the vegetarians.

They also said that while their findings supported dozens of earlier studies, their techniques were unique.

"Previous studies have reported lower mortality in vegetarians but they have used subjects who are members of religious or other groups or the data on confounding factors in the comparison group have been inadequate," Mann wrote.