A survey of teenagers reveals that vegetarianism may mask larger health issues. The study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, is based on survey data from 2,516 teenagers and young adults. Roughly 85 percent had never been vegetarian, while 4 percent were currently vegetarian and 11 percent had been in the past.

The study revealed that vegetarian teenagers were more likely than meat-eaters to have issues with eating and weight control.

The researcher reported that current vegetarians were more likely to report problems with binge-eating compared with non-vegetarians. Furthermore, former vegetarians were more likely to admit to taking extreme measures to control their weight, such as using diet pills or purging by vomiting or abusing laxatives.  

The report’s author, Dr. Ramona Robinson-O'Brien of the College of Saint Benedict-Saint John's University in St. Joseph, Minnesota, also noted that teenagers run a risk of nutritional deficiencies if their vegetarian diet is not well-planned.

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