abstract and full text of the study is available online in the current
issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
of the study itself reveals that of the 215 "vegetarians"
surveyed and reported on, 137 of them -- nearly 2/3rds of the group
-- can regularly be scarfing down things like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Chicken
McNuggets, turkey dinners and Popeye's Fish and Chips.
The study isn't
in fact reporting on "vegetarians," but primarily on kids
who simply eshew animals on the hoof -- i.e., red meat -- but who
do eat fish and/or chicken.
A mere 78 of
the 215 "vegetarians" reported on in the study are actually
Looking at the
data of actual vegetarian kids against the rest of the group, there
are little or no statistically significant differences in most categories,
except that the vegetarian kids score better than the non-veg kids
in a few -- the opposite of what the researchers are trying to argue
with the data.
What does this
study show, then?
It shows that
the researchers conducting the study are either stupid or intellectually
merely took any kid who called herself a "vegetarian"
-- even though the authors knew she wasn't really vegetarian --
and lumped that student with actual vegetarians for the purposes
of drawing conclusions about "vegetarians."
The study is
tantamount to taking people who smoke a few packs of cigarettes
a week and mixing them with a smaller group of non-smokers, and
saying "Based on evaluating these 'non-smokers' we can draw
the following conclusions..."
and the researchers should be ashamed of themselves, if they had
The only thing
the study shows of any use is that there is a confusion among some
adolescents -- who are confused about many things and have other
problems -- about what it means to be a vegetarian. It shows that
some kids with problems call themselves vegetarians when they aren't.
If one thing
is suggested from this study, it's that information about healthy
plant-based diets should be given to children at a young age. This
will insure kids have the option to adopt a healthy diet early on
and thus prevent many of the conditions that give rise to eating
disorders. (Lifelong vegetarians rarely have weight or body-image
problems.) It will also mean that should children at some point
decide to go veg, they will have the information they need to understand
what a vegetarian diet really is, why it is healthier and how to
do it right -- including eliminating the KFC.