Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1 in 200 U.S. Kids Are Vegetarian

Many parents have had to ride out their kids' food jags — periods when a son or daughter favors mac and cheese over all else or refuses to eat anything that isn't breaded and fried. Those periods usually pass, but what if a child decides to make a permanent dietary change, such as foregoing meat?

It's a question that more and more U.S. parents are facing: a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study reports that some 367,000 kids — or about 1 in 200 — are vegetarians. For the government's first estimate of how many kids avoid meat, researchers interviewed with about 9,000 parents data on their kids' eating habits.

And these numbers might just be part of a much bigger picture: Other surveys suggest the vegetarianism rate could be four to six times higher among older teens, who have more control over what they eat.

Most vegetarians say that it's concern about animal welfare, not health, that prompted them to stop eating meat. The CDC reported anecdotally that adolescent vegetarianism seems to be rising in part to explicit animal slaughter videos found online, but says there isn't enough long-term data to prove that. Read the entire article.

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