Characteristics of Vegetarianism and Its Association with Eating Behavior in Women Living in Seoul

서울지역 성인여성의 채식주의 실태 및 관련 식행동

  • Ju, Yunji (Department of Food & Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Kyung Hee University) ;
  • Kang, Juyeon (Department of Food & Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Kyung Hee University) ;
  • Chung, Jayong (Department of Food & Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Kyung Hee University)
  • 주윤지 (경희대학교 생활과학대학 식품영양학과) ;
  • 강주연 (경희대학교 생활과학대학 식품영양학과) ;
  • 정자용 (경희대학교 생활과학대학 식품영양학과)
  • Received : 2013.11.13
  • Accepted : 2013.11.28
  • Published : 2013.12.30


Increasing numbers of Korean adults, especially women, are adopting vegetarian diets for various reasons. In this study, the characteristics of vegetarianism among females residing in Seoul were examined. In addition, the dietary habits and eating behaviors between vegetarians and non-vegetarians were investigated. A total of 148 females (73 vegetarians, 75 non-vegetarians) were recruited and questionnaires regarding their demographic characteristics and eating habits were completed. The eating behavior and daily intake of food groups was assessed using the three factor eating questionnaire-R18 (TFEQ-R18) and food frequency questionnaire, respectively. The ages, BMI, education, and religious affiliation were not significantly different between the two groups. More than 30% of vegetarians had followed a vegetarian diet for longer than 24 months. The most common motivations for vegetarianism in study participants were 'health or weight control' (46.6%) followed by 'environmental concerns or animal welfare' (24.7%). Vegetarians had a lower intake of cereals, Kimchi, and soda, but a higher intake of potatoes and sweet potatoes, vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed, and fruits compared to non-vegetarians. Significant differences in eating behavior scores were also found between the two groups; in particular, vegetarians reported higher levels of restrained eating and emotional eating than non-vegetarians. Scores of uncontrolled eating, however, were not significantly different between the two groups. In conclusion, these results suggest that while vegetarianism is associated with healthy dietary habits, it is associated with restrained eating behaviors which may increase the risk of eating disorders in women.


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