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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017 Jul - Aug;49(7):561-567.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2017.04.011.

Characteristics of Americans Choosing Vegetarian and Vegan Diets for Health Reasons.

Author information

1
Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany; Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Electronic address: h.cramer@kliniken-essen-mitte.de.
2
Immanuel Hospital Berlin, Department for Complementary Medicine, Berlin, Germany; Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité Medical University, Berlin, Germany.
3
Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS/OMV), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
5
Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.
6
Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Examine the prevalence, patterns, and associated factors of using a vegetarian or vegan diet for health reasons in the US general population.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey.

PARTICIPANTS:

Nationally representative sample (N = 34,525).

VARIABLES MEASURED:

Prevalence of ever use and 12-month use of vegetarian or vegan diet for health reasons, patterns of use, and sociodemographic and health-related factor associated with use.

ANALYSIS:

Multiple logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS:

Prevalence of ever use and 12-month use was 4.0% (n = 1,367) and 1.9% (n = 648), respectively. Health vegetarians and vegans were more likely aged 30-65 years, female, not Hispanic, from the Western US region, at least high school educated, chronically ill, and physically active. They were less likely to be in a relationship, overweight or obese, or smoking, or to have public or private health insurance. Among health vegetarians and vegans, 6.3% consulted with a practitioner for special diets; 26.1% followed the diet because of a specific health problem, mainly high cholesterol, overweight, hypertension, and diabetes; and 59.4% disclosed the diet to their health care provider.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Less than 2% of participants reported using a vegetarian or vegan diet for health reasons within the past 12 months. Despite potential benefits of plant-based nutrition, more research is warranted on the actual use and its effects and safety.

KEYWORDS:

diet; prevalence; survey; vegan; vegetarian

PMID:
28689610
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2017.04.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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