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Plant-based dietary patterns in Flemish adults: a 10-year trend analysis

A Correction to this article was published on 30 November 2021

This article has been updated

Abstract

Purpose

Although the beneficial health effects of plant-based dietary patterns are evident, it is not clear if population-wide dietary patterns are shifting in a more plant-based direction. This study evaluated trends in dietary patterns among Flemish adults over a 10-year period. Furthermore, differences in socio-demographic characteristics between different dietary pattern groups were explored.

Methods

A time series design, during which five different representative cohorts (2011, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2020; N = 4859) were surveyed through an online questionnaire, was used to evaluate trends in dietary patterns over the past decade.

Results

Findings show that the vast majority of participants were omnivorous as measured at the different time points. The proportion of flexitarians increased over time, while the opposite was true for omnivores. The proportion of vegetarians and vegans, on the other hand, remained stable. Eating more plant-based diet was associated with female sex, younger age, higher education and living in urban areas.

Conclusions

In contrast to the stricter plant-based dietary patterns, a modest shift from the omnivorous towards the flexitarian dietary pattern was observed over the past decennium in the Flemish adult population. Campaigns might benefit from targeting older and lower educated male living in rural areas.

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Availability of data and material

The data are available upon reasonable request with the corresponding author.

Code availability

Not applicable.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Ethical Vegetarian Alternative (EVA) and iVOX for their contribution in questionnaire development and data collection. We also thank all iVOX panel members for participating in this study.

Funding

The authors declare that they received no funding for this study.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation and data collection were performed by EVA and iVOX. Data analysis was performed by TD. The first draft of the manuscript was written by TD and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tom Deliens.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

This study was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. Ethics approval has not been sought, as this study reports on data that were collected by the market research company iVOX (secondary data analysis). The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

Consent to participate

All participants gave their written informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Additional information

The original online version of this article was revised: The methods section contains the same ‘text’ as the results section in the abstract.

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Deliens, T., Mullie, P. & Clarys, P. Plant-based dietary patterns in Flemish adults: a 10-year trend analysis. Eur J Nutr 61, 561–565 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02630-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02630-z

Keywords

  • Plant-based
  • Dietary pattern
  • Trend
  • Adults
  • Belgium