International Journal of Obesity
SEARCH     advanced search my account e-alerts subscribe register
Journal home
Advance online publication
Current issue
Archive
Press releases
For authors
For referees
Contact editorial office
About the journal
For librarians
Subscribe
Advertising
naturereprints
Contact Springer Nature
Customer services
Site features
NPG Subject areas
Access material from all our publications in your subject area:
Biotechnology Biotechnology
Cancer Cancer
Chemistry Chemistry
Dentistry Dentistry
Development Development
Drug Discovery Drug Discovery
Earth Sciences Earth Sciences
Evolution & Ecology Evolution & Ecology
Genetics Genetics
Immunology Immunology
Materials Materials Science
Medical Research Medical Research
Microbiology Microbiology
Molecular Cell Biology Molecular Cell Biology
Neuroscience Neuroscience
Pharmacology Pharmacology
Physics Physics
Browse all publications
 
May 1998, Volume 22, Number 5, Pages 454-460
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF
Paper
Low body mass index in non-meat eaters: the possible roles of animal fat, dietary fibre and alcohol
P N Appleby1,a, M Thorogood2, J I Mann3 and T J Key1

1Imperial Cancer Research Fund Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Gibson Building, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford OX2 6HE, UK

2Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK

3Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

aCorrespondence: Mr PN Appleby.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations of diet and other lifestyle factors with body mass index (BMI) using data from the Oxford Vegetarian Study.

SUBJECTS: 1914 male and 3378 female non-smokers aged 20-89 y at recruitment to the study.

MEASUREMENTS: All subjects completed a diet/lifestyle questionnaire at recruitment giving details of their usual diet and other characteristics including height and weight, smoking and drinking habits, amount of exercise, occupation and reproductive history. Answers to the food frequency questionnaire were used to classify subjects as either meat eaters or non-meat eaters, and to estimate intakes of animal fat and dietary fibre. Subjects were further classified according to their alcohol consumption, exercise level, social class, past smoking habits and parity.

RESULTS: Mean BMI was lower in non-meat eaters than in meat eaters in all age groups for both men and women. Overall age-adjusted mean BMIs in kg/m2 were 23.18 and 22.05 for male meat eaters and non-meat eaters respectively (P<0.0001) and 22.32 and 21.32 for female meat eaters and non-meat eaters respectively (P<0.0001). In addition to meat consumption, dietary fibre intake, animal fat intake, social class and past smoking were all independently associated with BMI in both men and women; alcohol consumption was independently associated with BMI in men, and parity was independently associated with BMI in women. After adjusting for these factors, the differences in mean BMI between meat eaters and non-meat eaters were reduced by 36% in men and 31% in women.

CONCLUSIONS: Non-meat eaters are thinner than meat eaters. This may be partly due to a higher intake of dietary fibre, a lower intake of animal fat, and only in men a lower intake of alcohol.

Keywords

body mass index; vegetarians; animal fat; dietary fibre; alcohol

Received September 1997; revised 22 December 1997; accepted 9 January 1998
May 1998, Volume 22, Number 5, Pages 454-460
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF