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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Note/Teen Eating

Air Date: Week of

Living on Earth’s Diane Toomey reports on a new study that found teen vegetarians may be eating healthier than their carnivorous counterparts.


CURWOOD: Just ahead, creepy crawly crime solvers. First, this Environmental Health Note from Diane Toomey:


TOOMEY: While parents might be concerned about teenagers and their fickle eating habits, a new study shows that vegetarian adolescents may have the healthiest diets. Researchers at the University of Minnesota set out to answer the question: do teen vegetarians eat better than their meat eating counterparts? In what they describe as the first large-scale study of its kind, they asked more than 4,500 middle and high school students to fill out questionnaires about their diets. The researchers evaluated the answers based on dietary guidelines put out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They include the recommendation that people get less than 30 percent of their calories from fat, and they also promote a diet that includes at least three servings of vegetables a day.

Eighty percent of the vegetarians met the guidelines for fat consumption, but less than half of the meat-eating students did. And vegetarians were more than twice as likely to eat enough vegetables. Another group of students who described themselves as vegetarian but who did eat poultry and fish were also more likely than non-vegetarians to meet the guidelines. But when it came to calcium consumption, vegetarians and meat eaters alike scored the same low marks. Only about 30 percent of all students ate enough calcium-rich food. That’s this week’s Health Note. I’m Diane Toomey.


CURWOOD: And you’re listening to Living On Earth.



Abstract of the study on adolescent vegetarians published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Editorial on adolescent vegetarians from Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine


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