Number of Teen Vegetarians on the Rise
A recent poll found that the number of vegetarian teenagers choosing fruits and vegetables over chicken nuggets and hot dogs is growing—rapidly. The latest Harris Interactive poll found that the number of vegetarian teens has tripled in the last 10 years. Three percent of teenagers now consider themselves vegetarians, up from 1 percent in 1997.
The online survey was conducted on behalf of the Vegetarian Resource Group between April 14 and 18, 2005, among a nationwide sample of 1,264 people between the ages of 8 and 18. The participants were nearly equally divided among gender: 650 were male and 614 were female.
The poll found that 3 percent of those surveyed considered themselves vegetarian, and 1 percent of respondents said they were vegan, meaning that besides meat, they also don’t eat eggs or dairy products. An astounding 11 percent of girls in the 13- to 15-year-old age group reported being vegetarian.
While some parents react with concern to their children transitioning to a vegetarian diet, PCRM has always held that vegetarian and vegan diets are healthy for all stages of life, including infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. Today’s teens are more overweight than ever, but studies have shown that vegetarian teens are slimmer than their meat-eating peers. Vegetarian teens also consume more fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
PCRM’s fact sheet “Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start” provides nutrition needs and sample menus for all age groups from infancy through late adolescence. PCRM’s Web site www.NutritionMD.org provides teen-friendly recipes and tips such as how to survive the school lunch line.