This is part of a conclusion obtained from a recent Taiwanese research (thanks Dav0). The following Taipei Times article discusses the results:
Local researcher provides formula to predict strokes
After analyzing the medical records of 500,000 people, National Health Research Institute researcher Wen Chi-pang (溫啟邦) found that there are five main factors that affect the probability of a stroke: if a person is a smoker, a vegetarian, or overweight, and if they exercise to either extreme or drink alcohol.
For example, a 60-year-old male vegetarian with normal body weight, who smokes, drinks and does not exercise, would have an 11.1 percent chance of suffering a stroke in the next 10 years, Wen said. The probability would soar to 84.7 percent if the man is also overweight and exercises vigorously.
While the ideal cholesterol level for people is between 200mg per deciliter and 300mg per deciliter, studies in Taiwan and abroad show that vegetarians usually have a level of below 130mg per deciliter — which makes them twice as likely as those with an ideal level to suffer a hemorrhagic stroke, he said.
A reading of 160mg per deciliter means a person will have a 50 percent higher chance of suffering a hemorrhagic stroke than those who do not, the researcher said. Vegetarians tend to have lower cholesterol levels because they lack certain nutrients obtained from meat, he said. This does not just increase their chances of stroke, but also of developing cancer, he added.