Noara AlhusseiniAlfaisal University, Saudi Arabia
Title: Vegan, Vegetarian and Meat-Based Diets in Saudi Arabia
One of the most essential risk factors for chronic medical conditions is dietary intake. The dietary habits in Saudi Arabia shifted towards the Western diet, which is high in fat, salt and sugar. Plant-based diets like vegetarianism and veganism have gained popularity in the last few years. Individuals commit to a plant-based diet for many reasons. Plant-based diets are associated with various health benefits but can still cause nutrition deficiencies. The aim is to examine the proportion of vegan, vegetarian and omnivore diets in Saudi Arabia. To compare between plant-eaters and meat-eaters in health, lifestyle factors and nutritional status. A cross-sectional study was conducted. A previously validated online questionnaire was distributed via social media platforms. The authors used convenience sampling to collect the data. A total of 1018 respondents answered the survey. Most respondents 885 (87%) were omnivores, 52 were vegetarians (5%) and 81 (8%) were vegans. Moreover, 61% of the total respondents never consumed vitamin B12 supplements, and 10% consumed vitamin B12 daily. The majority of respondents 548 (54%) used no other dietary supplements, and 470 (46%) used unspecified dietary supplements. Vegan respondents were more likely than other diet categories to have healthier lifestyle features, including >3 times/week exercise (standardized residual = 3.55) and >7 hours of sleep (standardized residual = 2.44). Majority of Saudis follow omnivore diets and the frequency of those who follow plant-based diets is very low. Those who follow a vegan diet seem to have better health rating and lifestyle compared to the omnivores. Public health officials and healthcare providers are encouraged to increase awareness among the Saudi population about the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Dr. Noara Alhusseini has completed her undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Community Health, Clinical Nutrition from King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She worked at several Saudi hospitals and practiced as a Clinical Dietitian. After that, she had a Master’s degree in Leadership of Health Care Organizations from University of California San Diego (UCSD). She worked for the International Health Sciences Department at UCSD. Then, she worked for Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles. She completed her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in Health Policy and Leadership from Loma Linda University, United States of America. She worked at Loma Linda University as a teaching assistant in the school of public health. She joined the college of medicine at Alfaisal University as a faculty member. She is currently the director of the Master of Public Health Program and an Assistant Professor at the department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. She is highly interested in research and has published numerous articles related to public health in reputed peer-reviewed journals.