Bonnie Farmer

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Sciences

Committee Member

George Liepa PhD, FACN, FAOCS, Chair

Committee Member

Alice Jo Rainville, PhD, RD

Committee Member

Brian Larson, PhD


Studies showing lower body mass index for vegetarians than non-vegetarians suggest that a vegetarian diet may be an approach for weight management. The purpose of this study was to compare nutrient intakes of vegetarians, non-vegetarians, and dieters to show that a vegetarian diet does not compromise nutrient intake. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2004) data were analyzed for persons 19 years of age and older. Vegetarians were those who did not report eating meat, poultry, or fish. Dieters were those who consumed 500 kilocalories less than estimated energy requirements. Adjusted means for fiber, vitamins E, A, and C, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium were higher for vegetarians than for non-vegetarians. Niacin, vitamin B12, and zinc were lower for the vegetarians; however, only zinc was below the Recommended Dietary Allowance. These findings suggest that a vegetarian diet can be recommended for weight management without compromising nutrient intake.