A recent study from the Cleveland Clinic published in the Journal of Pediatrics stated that a vegan, plant based diet was more effective in reducing factors such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels than the diet recommended by the American Heart Association. All of these factors are related to cardiovascular risks and can help reduce the likelihood a cardiovascular event.
The study took a group of 28 children between the ages of 9 and 18 who had previously been identified with high cholesterol levels. One group of children, along with one of their parents, followed a plant based diet that consisted mostly of plants and whole grains, with limited helpings of avocado and nuts. The diet eliminated sources of added fat and included no animal products. The other group followed the American Heart Association diet, which includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy as well as lean meat and fish.
After four weeks, the children who followed the plant-based vegan diet saw significant improvements in nine important areas: BMI, systolic blood pressure, weight, mid-arm circumference, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, insulin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. The children who followed the American Heart Association diet saw improvement in only four areas: weight, waist circumference, mid-arm circumference and myeloperoxidase.
Speaking about the implications of the study, pediatrician Michael Macknin, M.D., stated “Cardiovascular disease begins in childhood. If we can see such significant improvements in a short four-week study, imagine the potential for improving long-term health into adulthood if a whole population of children began to eat these diets regularly.”
Click here to read the official report on the Cleveland Clinic’s website.