The study group consisted of 1,349 volunteers, mean age 51.5±14.7 (SD) years comprising 320 men, 51.4±15.1 (SD) years, and 1,029 women, 51.5±14.5 (SD) years, who participated in one of 30 one-week SDA-NEW START retreats in the Czech Republic from 1999–2006. The volunteers were informed about the retreats during the “Days of Health”, organized by Country Life International, when tents are erected in public areas in several towns throughout the Czech Republic to promote healthy lifestyles and offer the preventive examinations for the risk factors of civilization diseases. In this way a large number of the population was addressed. In addition, the programme was advertised to visitors of vegetarian restaurants and in the shops of Country Life International. The participants of the retreats were either vegetarians and Adventists, or controls (). The Czech Republic Seventh-day Adventists are the members of the Seventh-day Advent Church of more than 5 years using the Loma Linda University (California), NEW START lifestyle. The vegetarians are the Czech lacto-ovo-vegetarians practicing it for more than 5 years and participating on the retreats. The control group comprised persons who never practised the diet or the lifestyle programmes. The cardiovascular disease risk factor parameters during 30 one-week lasting NEW START retreats in 1999–2006 were compared in all participants including controls, vegetarians and Adventists, men and women.
Number of persons participating in the retreats NEW START from 1999–2006 in the Czech Republic; age in years ±SD
The retreats took place at higher quality hotels in the Czech and Moravian mountains, 600–800 meters above sea level, in the spring, summer and autumn (60 volunteers per retreat). A typical day's schedule: 07:00 wake; 07:20–07:45 morning exercise near hotel; 07:45–08:30 breakfast; 08:30–09:15 lifestyle study; 09:15–11:00 group activities: physiotherapy, balneotherapy, medical consultation, nature walk; 11:00–13:00 practical education in nutrition, exercise program; 13:00–13:30 lunch; 13:30–14:15 rest; 14:15–16:30 walk; 16:30–18:00 group activities (similar to morning). 18:00–18:30 dinner; 19:00–21:00 lectures about lifestyle, cultural programmes, discussions etc.; 21:00 rest. The participants paid 4,000,- Kč for the programme (200–250 USD, 130 €).
There are about ten thousand members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Czech Republic. Their NEW START lifestyle has been practiced in the population since the end of the 19th century.
The „NEW START“ Lifestyle is an acronym for:
- N – Nutrition: low-fat, low-energy lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet,
- E – Exercise: light physical training
- W – Water: consumption of spring water and hydrotherapy
- S – Sunshine
- T – Temperance: abstinence of alcohol, smoking, coffee, tea, and spicy meals
- A – Air: fresh air outside of large cities
- R – Rest: sleep eight hours daily
- T – Trust: faith in God, increased confidence in the church community
Daily energy intake of SDA – NEW START lifestyle – vegetarian diet (15
): 2073±600 kcal (8500kJ), fat (g) 70.1±35, carbohydrates (g) 300±102, proteins (g) 80±30, fiber (g) 26.9±3.3, saturated fatty acids (g) 23.5±11.5, unsaturated fatty acids (g) 24.4±13.4, ratio unsatur./satur. FA 1.09±0.4, cholesterol (mg) 0–80, calcium (mg) 993±408, iron (mg) 16±5, vitamin A (μg) 1794±370, vitamin C (mg) 182±10, thiamin (mg) 2±1.2, riboflavin (mg) 2±0.7, niacin (mg) 17.6±6.2, vitamin B6
(mg) 2±0.8. The diet was determined from recipes. The meals were supplied to participants.
The volunteers were informed about conditions on the retreat and their consent was acquired. Screening examinations were made at the beginning and near the end of the stay. The questionnaire was completed, then body weight, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, serum cholesterol and blood glucose were measured. The data protocol was maintained for every person in the retreat. In some persons subcutaneous fat was measured by the bioimpedance method (Omron), and the percentage of body weight and the weight of fat in kilograms was recorded. Blood sugar and serum cholesterol were measured by Accutrend GC (Roche, Boehringer Mannheim) test strips. In some persons with high serum cholesterol levels, routine biochemical laboratory methods vere used to evaluate the lipid spectrum.
The measurement of risk factors was not obligatory, but voluntary. This is the reason why many variables were not recorded in all subjects.
The statistics: two-sampled t-tests were used for and , paired t-tests for , and .
Table 2 A comparison of cardiovascular diseases risk factors between SDA (143 participants – 47 men, 96 women) and control group (140 participants – 51 men, 89 women) before the NEW START retreats in 2001–2003. Age (46–47 years) (more ...)
Table 3 Comparison of prevalence of cardiovascular diseases risk factors between lacto-ovo-vegetarians (195 persons – 65 men, 130 women) and controls (201 persons – 70 men, 131 women) before the NEW START retreats in 2002–2003. Mean (±SD) (more ...)
Table 4 Decrease of cardiovascular disease risk factor parameters during 30 one-week NEW START retreats in 1999–2006, 1,349 persons, 1,029 women, 320 men, mean age 51.5±14.5 years, controls, vegetarians, Adventists, men and women, evaluated together. (more ...)
Changes of cardiovascular disease risk factor parameters in 68 persons one year after finishing one-week NEW START retreats in 1999–2006. Men, women, mean, number, SD, SE, p. Mean age 56.1±12.9 (SD) years, 14 men, 56 women.