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Korean J Community Nutr. 2001 May;6(2):227-233. Korean. Original Article.
Cha BK .
Department of Naturopathic Medicine, The Postgraduate School of Hanseo University, Seosan, Korea.

The purpose of this study is to verify nutrient intake status and prevalence of obesity in vegetarians non-vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The vegetarian subjects consisted of 127 Buddhist nuns(age:23-79 yrs) from Oonmoon Temple on the Choungdo District of Gyeongsang Bookdo Province and 118 Buddhist nuns practicing Zen meditation at Soodeok Temple in Yeosan District of Chongcheong Namdoo Province. Control subjects were 235 healthy female adults aged from 23 to 79 years old. They were teachers and nurses at the hospital of Gyeongsang National University and housewives living in Chinju, Gyeingsang Namdoo Province. The study was conducted from October 1996 to February 1997, and consisted of a survey and anthropometric measurement. The results are summarized as follows : The average age of the subjects was 44.2 yrs for vegetarians and 40.5 yrs for non-vegetarians. The average body mass index(BMI) of vegetarians and non-vegetarians was 22.4 and 21.0, the waist hip ratio(WHR) was 0.8 and 0.8, and the percentage of body fat was 28.7 and 26.5 respectively. The average duration of vegetarian diet among vegetarians was 13.1 years. The nutrient intakes of vegetarians were above the RDA for all the nutrients expect calcium and vitamin A. The intakes of fat, cholesterol, saturated fatty acid and the energy ratio from fat among the vegetarians were significantly lower than those of the non-vegetarians(p<0.01). However, the vegetarians consumed significantly higher amounts of fiber and vitamin C compared to the non-vegetarians(p<0.01). Also, the ratio of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid/saturated fatty acid was significantly higher in vegetarians. The prevalence of obesity was 13.9% for vegetarians and 11.9% for non-vegetarians by criteria of BMI 25 as obese.

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