Influences on meat consumption in Australia

E Lea, A Worsley
Appetite 2001, 36 (2): 127-36
In a study of influences on meat consumption, over 700 South Australians answered questions on frequency of meat consumption, beliefs about meat and nutrition, perceived difficulties with and benefits of vegetarian diets, personal values, number of vegetarian significant others, use in and trust of health/nutrition/food information sources, and demography. Perceived difficulties with vegetarian diets, the number of vegetarian significant others and beliefs about meat were important predictors of meat consumption. There were differences between men and women and members of different age groups, which should be taken into account when attempts are made to influence meat consumption. For example, health promotion campaigns that focus on whether or not meat is necessary in the diet may influence meat consumption, but would be most successful if directed predominantly at older people and men. In contrast, the meat consumption of women and younger people was strongly associated with more specific concerns about lack of iron and protein in the vegetarian diet. Some of the difficulties people find with vegetarian diets will also apply to plant-based diets generally, and such diets are becoming more widely acknowledged as providing health benefits. Therefore, the findings have important implications for public health.

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