To determine the prevalence and sociodemographic factors related to vegetarians according to different definitions in Finland and to compare the consumption of selected foodstuffs and nutritional intakes among vegetarians and omnivores.
Information about subjects' identification as vegetarians in a survey was used as a basis for self-defined vegetarianism. Foodstuffs consumed and their frequencies of consumption were obtained, and the reported consumption frequencies of meat, fish, milk and eggs or food portions containing these foodstuffs were used as a basis for an operationalized definition of different types of vegetarianism. Reported consumption was used to estimate foodstuff and nutritional intakes.
Three large nationwide surveys in Finland.
In total, 24 393 participants aged between 18 and 79 years were included.
The proportion of self-identified vegetarians was 3.3 % of the total population in Finland. According to responses to questions on consumption frequency, 1.4 % of the population were pesco-lacto-ovo-vegetarians, 0.43 % were vegans, lacto-vegetarians or lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and 0.18 % were vegans or lacto-vegetarians. Eighty per cent of the self-identified vegetarians did not follow a vegetarian diet according to the operationalized definition, but they consumed fewer meat products (P