Vegetarianism and other eating practices among youth and young adults in major Canadian cities.Public Health Nutr 2019; :1-11PH
To estimate the prevalence and sociodemographic characteristics of youth and young adults in major Canadian cities with self-reported vegetarian dietary practices and examine efforts to alter their diets.
Data were collected in autumn 2016 via web-based surveys. Respondents reported vegetarian dietary practices (vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian) and efforts in the preceding year to consume more or less of several nutrients, food groups and/or foods with particular attributes. Logistic regression models examined sociodemographic correlates of each vegetarian dietary practice and differences in other eating practices by diet type.
Participants were recruited from five major Canadian cities.
Youth and young adults, aged 16-30 years (n 2566).
Overall, 13·6 % of respondents reported vegetarian dietary practices: 6·6 % vegetarian, 4·5 % pescatarian and 2·5 % vegan. Sex, race/ethnicity, self-reported frequency of using the Nutrition Facts table and health literacy were significantly correlated with self-reported vegetarian dietary practice (P < 0·01 for all). Efforts to consume more fruits and vegetables (66·8 %) and protein (54·8 %), and less sugar (61·3 %) and processed foods (54·7 %), were prevalent overall. Respondents with vegetarian dietary practices were more likely to report efforts to consume fewer carbohydrates and animal products, and more organic, locally produced, ethically sourced/sustainably sourced/fair trade and non-GM foods (P < 0·01 for all), compared with those without these reported dietary practices.
Nearly 14 % of the sampled youth and young adults in major Canadian cities reported vegetarian dietary practices and may be especially likely to value and engage in behaviours related to health-conscious diets and sustainable food production.