Differences between vegetarian and omnivorous yoga practitioners—Results of a nationally representative survey of US adult yoga practitioners

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2018, 40 pp. 48 - 52
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Background: To examine the prevalence of vegetarianism among yoga practitioners, and to explore differences and similarities between yoga practitioners who also use vegetarian diet and those who do not. Design and setting: Using cross-sectional data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) (N = 34,525), weighted frequencies for 12-month prevalence of vegetarian diet use among yoga practitioners were analyzed. Logistic regression analyses were used to analyze sociodemographic and clinical predictors of vegetarian diet use. Results: A total of 1.7 million US yoga practitioners have used a vegetarian diet in the past 12 months (8.3%), compared to 2.7 million non-yoga practitioners (1.3%). Yoga practitioners who were aged between 30 and 64 years as compared to being 29 years or younger were more likely to have used a vegetarian diet in the past 12 months; while those being in a relationship (OR = 0.64), overweight (OR = 0.54), smoking (OR 0.64) or having private health insurance (OR = 0.59) were less likely. Vegetarian diet practitioners more often included meditation as part of their yoga practice and more often chose yoga because it had a holistic focus, and was perceived to treat the cause and not the symptoms of their health complaint. Conclusions: Yoga practitioners following a vegetarian diet seem to embrace yoga more as a lifestyle than as a therapy.
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