Merli, Isabella Junqueira; Vidigal, Fernanda de Carvalho
Introduction: Studies show that restrictive or unbalanced vegetarian diets can determine nutritional deficiencies, but if well balanced they can prevent possible deficiencies, as well as some chronic diseases.
Objective: To analyze the anthropometric, dietary and blood pressure profile of omnivorous and vegetarians.
Methods: Cross-sectional study, in which individual consultations were performed, using a semi-structured questionnaire. Weight, height, waist circumference (WC) and hip circumference were measured. From anthropometric measurements, anthropometric indices were calculated: body mass index (BMI), waist/hip ratio (WHR) and waist/height ratio (WHtR). Body composition was assessed using the four-skinfold method. Food consumption was assessed using the 24-hour recall.
Results: The study included 123 adults, with a mean age of 25.7±7.7 years, and the majority (74%) were females. Of the total participants, 54.5% were omnivorous and 45.5% were vegetarian. The mean BMI was 23.0±3.4 kg/m², the WC 75.3±9.6 cm, the WHtR 0.46 ± 0.05 and the WHR 0.77±0.07, with no differences between groups (p>0.05), with the exception of WHR, which was higher among vegetarians (0.78±0.08) compared to omnivorous (0.75±0.05) (p<0.05) Regarding nutrition status, 72.4% were eutrophic and 22% were overweight. As for metabolic complications associated with obesity, 19.5% were at high risk of developing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) according to the WHtR, 13% according to the WC and 1.6% according to the WHR. The mean systolic blood pressure (BP) was 114.0±15.2 mmHg and the diastolic BP was 76.9±10.7 mmHg. As for dietary assessment, vegetarians had a significantly higher consumption of carbohydrates, vitamin C and fiber, and a lower consumption of proteins, vitamin B12 and zinc (p<0.05).
Conclusions: The anthropometric profile showed positive results, with the majority being eutrophic(a), with WC, WHtR and WHR indicating low risk for the development of NCDs. Regarding the dietary profile, special attention should be paid to the consumption of proteins, vitamin B12 and zinc.