Adventist Health Study-2 awarded $5.5 million from National Institutes of Health

By Jennifer Frehn
July 29, 2011

LOMA LINDA, Calif. – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Adventist Health Study-2 $5.5 million over the next five years, which will allow the study to continue its analysis on cancer and other lifestyle diseases.

"We’re delighted by this outcome,” said Gary Fraser, MD, principal investigator of the study. “This will not only allow us to conduct our ongoing functions, but to conduct them more efficiently, and to begin analysis on parts of the cancer project that we have had to shelve. It will also free other resources to support the critical task of identifying and training younger investigators who will ensure the future of this line of research at Loma Linda.”

Adventist Health Study-2 is a long-term health study of more than 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists from the U.S. and Canada. The study began in 2002 with the purpose of examining the links between lifestyle, diet and disease.

The study has been without NIH funds for the past three years, but has received other funds and grants, as well as significant support from Loma Linda University, where it is based. The new funds come from the National Cancer Institute, a division within NIH.

Though the study is in the beginning stages of analysis, it has had several important findings so far, which include: linking a vegetarian diet to a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes; linking a high consumption of cooked green vegetables, dried fruit, legumes, and brown rice to a lower risk of colon polyps, a precursor to colon cancer; and revealing that black and non-black Adventists report a higher mental and physical quality of life than the average American.