Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jepicomhJournal of Epidemiology and Community HealthVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Epidemiol Community Health. 1995 December; 49(6): 594–596.
PMCID: PMC1060174

Emergency appendicectomy and meat consumption in the UK.


STUDY OBJECTIVE--To compare the rates of reported emergency appendicectomies in a cohort study of vegetarians and non-vegetarians by participants' history of meat consumption. DESIGN--This was a prospective cohort study in which participants were asked about their lifetime history of meat consumption/avoidance and, separately, whether they had had an appendicectomy. Appendicectomy was described as either "emergency" or "non-emergency" according to details supplied by the participant. SETTING--The United Kingdom. PARTICIPANTS--These comprised more than 11000 people, of whom 4852 (44%) completed both an appendicectomy form and a dietary questionnaire giving details of their lifetime history of meat consumption. MAIN RESULTS--The percentage who reported an emergency appendicectomy was higher among lifelong meat eaters (10.7%) than either lifelong non-meat eaters (7.8%) or those who had stopped eating meat (8.0%); and the operations were performed at an earlier age in this first group (mean values 18.9, 26.0, and 19.6 years respectively). The overall age adjusted emergency participants who did not eat mean with those who ate meat was 0.47 (95% confidence interval 0.35, 0.65). CONCLUSION--The results suggests that people who do not eat meat have a 50% lower risk of requiring an emergency appendicectomy than those who do. The data do not, however, allow the reliable testing of other hypotheses, so meat consumption may simply be a marker for another dietary, lifestyle, or socioeconomic factor.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (541K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Primatesta P, Goldacre MJ. Appendicectomy for acute appendicitis and for other conditions: an epidemiological study. Int J Epidemiol. 1994 Feb;23(1):155–160. [PubMed]
  • Barker DJ, Morris J. Acute appendicitis, bathrooms, and diet in Britain and Ireland. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988 Apr 2;296(6627):953–955. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Thorogood M, Mann J, Appleby P, McPherson K. Risk of death from cancer and ischaemic heart disease in meat and non-meat eaters. BMJ. 1994 Jun 25;308(6945):1667–1670. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Barker DJ, Morris J, Nelson M. Vegetable consumption and acute appendicitis in 59 areas in England and Wales. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986 Apr 5;292(6525):927–930. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group