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Appetite. 2013 Jun;65:139-44. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

Differences between health and ethical vegetarians. Strength of conviction, nutrition knowledge, dietary restriction, and duration of adherence.

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Department of Human Nutrition, Winthrop University, 302 Dalton Hall, Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA.


Little research has been published concerning the differences between health oriented and ethically oriented vegetarians. The present study compared differences in conviction, nutrition knowledge, dietary restriction, and duration of adherence to vegetarianism between the two groups. Subjects completed an online survey and were grouped by original reason for becoming vegetarian (n=292, 58 health, 234 ethical), and current reason for remaining vegetarian (n=281, 49 health, 232 ethical). Whether grouped by current or original motivation, ethical vegetarians scored higher on the conviction instrument than health vegetarians and exhibited somewhat greater dietary restriction (significant when grouped by current motivation) and had been vegetarian for longer (significant when grouped by original motivation). Nutrition knowledge did not differ between the two groups. The results suggest that ethical vegetarians could experience stronger feelings of conviction and consume fewer animal products than health vegetarians, and may remain vegetarian longer. More research is necessary to understand how vegetarians' eating behaviors are influenced by their motivational profiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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