Main Article Content
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the protein intake of vegetarians and non-vegetarians in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Methodology: Four objectives and four research questions guided the study. A survey research design was adopted for the study. A sample size of 400 respondents was selected using Taro Yamene formula and purposive sampling techniques. The instrument used for data collection was a questionnaire tagged: Protein Intake of Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians in Port Harcourt Questionnaire (CPIBVNVQ). The instrument was validated by three experts with a reliability coefficient of 0.56. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage) and findings were presented on tables.
Results: Prevalence of vegetarianism was high in females (53%) than in males (47%). Protein intake by the vegetarians was high (97%) when compared with vegetarians who do not eat proteinous foods (3%). Among the non-vegetarians, 94% eat proteinous foods while 6% do not eat. The study also showed that protein intake is better in non-vegetarians than vegetarians. Higher percentages of non-vegetarians (84.3%) fell sick and got diagnosed of ailments as compared with 17.4% for vegetarians suggesting that the vegetarians experience enhanced immune function. Reduced saturated fat and blood cholesterol was a tool that influenced the respondents in choosing the vegetarian lifestyle with 82.5% for vegetarian and 13.8% for non-vegetarian.
Conclusion: Based on the findings, it was recommended that vegetarians should be encouraged to consume more plant proteins especially soy based foods since they are high biological value protein food comparable to animal products.
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