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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Jun 7;9:67. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-67.

Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey.

Author information

  • 1University of Hildesheim, Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum, Hildesheim, Germany. johannes.michalak@uni-hildesheim.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The present study investigated associations between vegetarian diet and mental disorders.

METHODS:

Participants were drawn from the representative sample of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey and its Mental Health Supplement (GHS-MHS). Completely vegetarian (N = 54) and predominantly vegetarian (N = 190) participants were compared with non-vegetarian participants (N = 3872) and with a non-vegetarian socio-demographically matched subsample (N = 242).

RESULTS:

Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders. Due to the matching procedure, the findings cannot be explained by socio-demographic characteristics of vegetarians (e.g. higher rates of females, predominant residency in urban areas, high proportion of singles). The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Vegetarian diet is associated with an elevated risk of mental disorders. However, there was no evidence for a causal role of vegetarian diet in the etiology of mental disorders.

PMID:
22676203
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3466124
Free PMC Article
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