Most People Think Being Vegetarian is for Super Health

What motivates non-vegetarians to follow a plant-based diet? Most people who consider becoming vegetarian do so for their health, say, researchers, adding that, environment and animal rights was less motivational.

“The most common reason people say they would consider being vegetarian has to do with health,” said study co-author Christopher J Hopwood, Professor at the University of California, Davis in the US.

According to the researchers, eating is an important day to day behavior at the interface of individual differences, social dynamics, economics, health, and ethics.

Vegetarianism has emerged as a significant dietary movement in Western cultures. For the findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the research team surveyed 8,000 people of various ages and ethnicities, in two languages, in both the US and Holland, to help determine why non-vegetarians decide to become vegetarian.

In this study, they developed the Vegetarian Eating Motives Inventory (VMI), a brief and psychometrically robust measure of the three main motives for adopting a plant-based diet: health, the environment, and animal rights.

The results showed that the main motivation for non-vegetarians to consider being vegetarian is healthy, with environmental and animal rights motives being less common. However, people who are most committed to a vegetarian diet were most motivated by the environment or animal rights.

The researchers found that health motives were associated with conventionality and masculinity, whereas people who cite environmental or animal rights motives tend to be curious, open to experience, likely to volunteer and interested in the arts.

“Based on these results, advocacy groups could target certain kinds of people — maybe advertise health benefits at a gym or church service, but environmental or animal rights perspectives at a museum or concert,” Hopwood said.

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