Researchers in an even more comprehensive, carefully controlled study compared 50,000 vegetarians of the religious group, Seventh Day Adventists, with the same number of non-vegetarians of the same age and gender.
This study, known as the Oxford Vegetarian Study, produced similar results.
The members of the vegetarian group had an astonishingly low rate of cancer of all types, their life expectancy was notably longer, and they suffered significantly less from cardiovascular disease than those in the control group.
Overall, life expectancy ranking of the United States compared with the rest of the world dropped from position 19 in 1999 to position 42 in 2007.
The stark increase of obesity and related vascular diseases can be blamed for this trend.
And both these chronic conditions are largely caused by the consumption of animal protein.
From a historical perspective, the 'forced' vegetarianism of the Danes due to the allied blockage of Denmark during World War I, led to a 17 percent reduction of mortality rates in the first year of meat rationing.
Norway experienced a similar positive side effect from meat-rationing during the years of World War II (1940-1945).
There was an immediate drop in national mortality rates from circulatory diseases during the period of meat shortage.
Mortality rates returned to pre-war levels when the population fully resumed meat consumption.
Studies from the University of Belgium that tested endurance, strength and the rate of recovery from physical exhaustion in vegetarians, clearly showed that vegetarians had far superior scores in all three categories.
A study at Yale University proved that vegetarians have nearly twice the stamina of meat eaters.
Other findings confirmed that during endurance tests, the vegetarians were able to perform two to three times longer than the meat eaters before reaching a point of complete exhaustion.
They also needed only one-fifth the time to recover from fatigue after each test than did their meat-eating counterparts.
The common belief that eating meat makes you strong is unfounded and misleading.
The super-strong elephant, gorilla, rhinoceros and horse all sustain their great physical strength and stamina by eating only vegetation.
Based on present evidence, there is nothing to suggest that meat is beneficial to our health.
The fact that populations like the Eskimos(Inuits) can survive on a meat diet without suffering heart disease is known.
However, the Eskimo's average life span is still not more than 40 years.
An important observation has been made relative to the rapid shortening of the average lifetime by Dr.
Levine and Professor C.
Bauer, of Creighton University, Nebraska, who reported on October 26, 1934: "Due to susceptibility to tuberculosis and other diseases the average life span of the Eskimo of Alaska is only 20 years and their race is doomed to extinction within a few generations unless modern medical science comes to their aid.
" The Masaitribes of East Africa live on mostly cows' blood and milk, and meat.
Their average life span is 60.
A typical 45-year-old man looks about 20 to 30 years older.
During my many visits to Masai villages in East Africa between 1983 and 2006, I observed that those Masai tribes who have adapted to grow and include fresh vegetables in their diet, look much healthier and don't age as quickly.
Another major benefit of the vegetarian diet is that, statistically, vegetarians are thinner and healthier.
On the average, vegetarians weigh about 20 pounds less than their meat-eating counterparts.
According to the U.
Worldwatch Institute, 1.
1 billion people worldwide are underweight, and another 1.
1 billion are overweight.
In the U.
, 23 percent of adults are obese and 60 percent are overweight.
But obesity besets poor countries, too, from Brazil to China.
The traditionally 'lean' and mostly vegetarian populations in the world are now quickly following in the footsteps of the typically non-vegetarian populations.
Eating meat is becoming increasingly synonymous with a higher standard of living.
The country/subcontinent of India, for example, which traditionally has been vegetarian for thousands of years, is rapidly adopting carnivorous eating habits, much to the benefit of that country's cardiologists and oncologists.
(Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, was largely responsible for keeping the Indian population vegetarian.
) Harvard research has shown that a vegetarian diet also reduces colds and allergies.
Children especially benefit greatly from meat abstinence.
Studies show that vegetarian children have better teeth and are afflicted with fewer children's diseases than non-vegetarian children.
They are also less prone to obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.