Nutritional knowledge, anthropometric profile, total cholesterol and motivations in vegetarians and non-vegetarians


  • Jacksaint Saintila Department of Nutrition, School of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Peruana Unión, Lima, Peru – Lima 15, Peru.
  • Tabita E. Lozano López Department of Nutrition, School of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Peruana Unión, Lima, Peru – Lima 15, Peru.
  • Yaquelin E. Calizaya-Milla Department of Nutrition, School of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Peruana Unión, Lima, Peru – Lima 15, Peru.
  • Salomón Huancahuire-Vega Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Human Medicine, Universidad Peruana Unión, Lima, Peru
  • Michael White


Palabras clave:

vegetarians, non-vegetarians, nutritional knowledge, anthropometric profile, total cholesterol


Background: Research often reports on the anthropometric and biochemical profile of vegetarians and non-vegetarians, yet few have compared nutritional knowledge in both populations. This cross-sectional study compared nutritional knowledge, anthropometric profile and total cholesterol in vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In addition, the motivations for choosing a vegetarian diet were analyzed. Methods: A registry card and a questionnaire were administered to evaluate sociodemographic, anthropometric, total cholesterol, nutritional knowledge and motivation data of the vegetarians. Data were analyzed using Chi-square and t-student tests, considering a significance level of 5%. Results: No significant difference was found in the level of nutritional knowledge of the two groups. In addition, a sufficient score was not observed in either group (>80 %). Vegetarians had significantly lower average weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) compared to non-vegetarians (59.948 ± 8,923 kg vs. 64.362 ± 12.272 kg, p=0.017), (23.22 ± 3.026 kg/m2 vs. 25.152 ± 3,373 kg/m2, p<0.01) and (78.435 ± 10.883 cm vs. 86.207 ± 13.662 cm, p<0.01), respectively. Total cholesterol concentration was significantly lower in vegetarians (166.307 ± 26.139 mg/dL vs. 189.138 ± 38.451 mg/dL, p<0.01). The "health benefits" were the main motivations to opt for vegetarianism (32.3%). Conclusions: Vegetarians presented a better anthropometric profile and lower levels of total cholesterol. However, there were no differences regarding knowledge levels. The highest proportion of vegetarian’s report choosing the vegetarian lifestyle for health reasons.


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Cómo citar

Saintila, J., Lozano López, T. E., Calizaya-Milla, Y. E., Huancahuire-Vega, S., & White, M. (2021). Nutritional knowledge, anthropometric profile, total cholesterol and motivations in vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Nutrición Clínica Y Dietética Hospitalaria, 41(1).



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