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One in 200 Kids Are Vegetarian? Wrong!

Written by PETA | January 20, 2009
abcnews / CC
Veggie kid

When we read that the CDC recently published a report that showed that only one in 200 American kids is vegetarian, we were confused to say the least. With peta2′s e-news list alone reaching well over 1,000,000 kids and growing at a staggering rate every month, the math just didn’t add up.

We decided to do some digging around. After speaking with the lead author of the study, we learned that the intention of the survey was not to find out the eating habits of American children, but instead was focused on complementary and alternative medicine. In fact, the only two questions regarding a vegetarian lifestyle were the following (via VeganHealth.org):

During the past 12 months did [your child] use any of the following special diets for two weeks or more for health reasons? Please say yes or no to each. [Vegetarian was one of the options.]

During the past 12 months did [your child] use a vegetarian diet to treat a specific health problem or condition other than weight control or weight loss?

So, this study only accounted for kids who are vegetarian for health reasons. Any child who is vegetarian for ethical, environmental, religious, or other reasons wasn’t factored in. And since the majority of kids we talk to go vegetarian because they care about the animals, it’s pretty obvious that the number of vegetarian kids in America is waaaaay higher than one in 200.

Written by Liz Graffeo

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  • jason says:

    Madison Honey reread your response and think about what you wrote bout COWS and METHANE

  • Janay L. says:

    Sorry Dan but your comments make no absolutely no sense. The growing number of cows would overrun us? That is a very old and stupid argument that people never seem to tire of using. The lone reason so many cows exist at all is because people breed them at extremely high unnatural rates through unnatural methods like artificial insemination. The whole scenario that if the world adopts a plantbased diet overnight then and a threatening bovine overpopulation would ensue is nearly impossible and just reactionary kneejerk hyperbole. And you state that going “vegitarian” is “just not a good idea” and one needs to really “think hard about it”. Really? Why? Give or list your reasons or evidence as to why its a terrible idea as you imply. It’s definitely not a perfect diet. No diet is perfect. But it certainly has many broad benefits most of which exceed the benefits of a nonvegetarian diet. So back up your comments with some facts or reasons before you attack something especially when it’s obvious you’ve never really tried to understand it.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Dan I wouldn’t worry about us being overrun by farmed animals since many such as dairy cows are artificially inseminated in the first place. Humans thus control their rate of reproduction. You’re right that methane from cows is a harmful greenhouse gas but vegans partake of zero products from cowsa vegetarian may consume some degree of dairy products though. Nevertheless a lactoovo vegetarian diet is still by far a kinder diet to the earth than a meatbased one.

  • Hannah says:

    Hi Dan There would be no growing number of cows if more people were to become vegetarian. Factory farms control insemination of the cows they produce and just as in any other business when demand is low less products are made. It would cost the farmers too much to feed more animals than they can sell so they would impregnate fewer cows decreasing the number of cows killed for food. And that’s why people go veg

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Michael My gut feeling is that the vast majority of kids who go veg do it for ethical reasons not for reasons of health or the environment though the environment is most likely becoming a stronger factor. My gut feeling also is that people kids or adults who go veg for ethical reasons are more likely to stick to it. Once you’ve been veg for a little while meat no longer holds the least iota of interest to you though you may be repulsed by it. If they counted kids who are veg for ethical reasons there would be way more.

  • Dan says:

    I would only become a vegetarian for the health benifits but seriously what the heck would we do with the growing population of cows? By your thinking we would not be able to kill them so we would eventuall be overrun by farm animals and such. I think that animals should be treated well and they should die in a close to painless way. I just don’t belive that becoming a vegitarian is a good choice. Also cows “emit” methane gas so it is pretty bad for the environment to be a vegitarian. I hope anyone thinking of becoming a vegetarian should seriously think hard about it.

  • Madison says:

    I am a kid and a vegetarian! Have been for about 4 years!

  • Veronika says:

    hm I have been vegetarian all my life it is more than 17 years right now

  • Michael says:

    Good point in pointing out that that survey may have underestimated the number of vegetarians because it only listed one of the reasons however your conclusion that the mistake in the study means that more children than stated are vegetarian is not necessarily true. You fail to account for the possibility that the study may also overestimate the count because the questions only ask if the child tried a vegetarian diet over the last 12 months. If they tried it and gave up after a few weeks children who are not vegetrians would have been counted thus overestimating the number. Therefore this study isn’t necessarily skewed in one direction or another so much as completely worthless.

  • Meech! says:

    Do a followup survey and get more accurate results?

  • Catherine says:

    Thank you for clearing that up. I became a vegetarian when I was 14 for ethical reasons thanks in part to information I learned from PETA. And Ingrid planted the seed in me to go vegan which I did after hearing her speech on “Speaking Up for the Animals.” Go PETA!

  • Aaron says:

    It just shows you can’t always trust the media

  • angelena says:

    hell yea!!! i hate it when journalest lie it pisses me off!! just becuse we’re differebt doesnt mean that we arent here!!

  • Elaine Vigneault says:

    Thank you for this. It makes so much more sense now. I went veg at age 6 for ethical reasons. Had I or my mother taken that survey we would have answered no to both questions and I wouldn’t have been counted as vegetarian. By the way it stuck still veg 26 years later. Only now I’m VEGAN.

  • kelly says:

    It would not surprise me that the CDC is getting influenced by the meat industry There is dirty business going on at the CDC

  • kelly says:

    The CDC is corrupt to the core When dog fighters got annoyed because the CDC kept track of fighting dogs that killed people some CDC “scientists” linked to dog breeders just stopped keeping track as a favor to freaking DOG FIGHTERS The CDC should be deepsixed. It’s a waste of money and all they do is lie anyway

  • Amanda. says:

    hey im amanda and im 13 im a vegetarian and proud of it and thank u peta for showing people what other people really do to animals and helping stop it

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