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Healthy Vegan Lifestyle Habits among Argentinian Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians.

ABSTRACT

Although current research has contributed to the promotion of whole-food plant-based diets, few studies have examined healthy vegan dietary and lifestyle factors, especially in South America. Therefore, we aimed at investigating the adherence to healthy vegan lifestyle habits among Argentinian vegetarians and omnivorous, using a recently developed vegetarian lifestyle index adapted to the vegan dietary pattern. Also, accessibility of vegetarian foods, and the proportion of household income spent on food were assessed in a cross-sectional approach with 1454 participants. The population was comprised of females (84.9%), singles (55.0%), young-adults (mean age 32.1, standard deviation (SD) = 13.6), employed (50.8%), with high educational levels (50.4%), and low prevalence of both tobacco smoking (7.0%) and frequent alcohol consumption (7.6%). The mean score of adherence to healthy vegan lifestyle habits was 6.64 (SD = 1.72), with higher scores indicating better adherence. Non-vegetarians (5.75; 95% confidence interval (CI), 5.61⁻5.89) had a significantly lower adjusted mean score compared to semi-(6.32; 95% CI, 6.17⁻6.47), pesco-(6.99; 95% CI, 6.59⁻7.39), lacto-ovo-vegetarians (7.10; 95% CI, 6.96⁻7.24), as well as vegans (8.59; 95% CI, 8.35⁻8.83). The mean proportion of household income spent on food was significantly lower among vegans compared with other dietary patterns. The whole studied population showed a low consumption of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Although vegans showed a better diet and lifestyle pattern there is a need to improve eating and lifestyle habits to address risk factors for non-communicable diseases in Argentina.