Knowledge and attitudes of registered dietitians concerning vegetarian diets

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Department or Administrative Unit

Family and Consumer Sciences

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Registered Dietitians' (RD) knowledge and attitudes about the safety, adequacy and health benefits of vegetarian diets were estimated. A questionnaire was developed with demographic, knowledge, and attitude questions and was completed by 182 RDs from Washington, Nebraska and Vermont. The results showed that RDs in Vermont had significantly higher attitude scores regarding vegetarian diets than RDs in Nebraska (63% vs. 52% of questions answered correctly, respectively) and that RDs in Washington had significantly higher knowledge scores concerning vegetarian diets than RDs in Nebraska (73% vs. 67% of questions answered correctly, respectively). A significantly higher percentage of the RDs from Vermont, 52%, reported having followed some type of vegetarian diet compared to only 28% of the RDs from Washington or 12% of the RDs from Nebraska. Results also showed that RDs who had followed vegetarian diets at the time of the study or at some time in the past had significantly higher overall knowledge and attitude scores when compared with those RDs who had never followed vegetarian diets. There was a significant positive correlation between overall knowledge and overall attitude score for individual subjects. This suggests that increasing the knowledge base of RDs concerning vegetarian diets may lead them to consider meatless diets in a more positive light. In addition, average overall knowledge and attitude scores suggested that RDs are not up to date with current research in the field of vegetarian nutrition.


This article was originally published in Nutrition Research. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Nutrition Research


© 1999 Elsevier Science, Inc.