An epidemiology instructor said he believes many Seventh-day Adventists live longer due to their vegetarian diet.
Larry Beeson, who teaches epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, explained the theories in a discussion titled, "Living Longer and Better; The Health Experience of California Seventh-day Adventists."
The theories are based on research conducted for more than 50 years at Loma Linda University, a Seventh-day Adventist health science school.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches the importance of holiness in one's lifestyle, Beeson said, particularly in diet.
He estimated about half of Adventists are vegetarians. Many Adventists also abstain from alcohol and tobacco, and choose to exercise.
Research by the National Institute of Health, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization shows health choices reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
The vegetarian decision, Beeson said, helps Seventh-day Adventists to live longer.
"Vegetarians die, but at a later time -- seven to 10 years later," Beeson said. "That gives them 7 to 10 years more of disease-free status. They delay by following recommendations of the church."
Beeson said the Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches that the Garden of Eden account in Genesis included vegetarian cuisine.
"God originally intended man-kind to be on a plant-based diet," he said