by AT News Team
A new Gallup Poll conducted last month finds that five percent of Americans say they are vegetarians. This percentage has remained stable for more than a decade, Gallup reports.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been promoting a vegetarian diet to improve health for about 125 years. Repeated studies by a number of different research teams have show definite health advantages. Yet, internal surveys indicate that only 41 percent of American Adventists consistently follow a vegetarian diet. This is eight times the proportion among the general public in the United States and studies have shown that Adventists generally have a longer lifespan than other Americans.
Most Adventist congregations across the country follow the practice of a vegetarian menu for church dinners. About one in five Adventist local churches offer a vegetarian cooking class for the community about each year. These classes also help new converts to learn to prepare vegetarian meals for church potlucks and social events.
There is increasing interest in “vegan” diet, vegetarians who also do not consume eggs or dairy. This year the Gallup Poll asked specifically about vegans and found that only two percent of Americans claim to follow a vegan regime.
Internal surveys among Adventists reveal that 16 percent never eat cheese, 25 percent never eat eggs, and 38% never use drink milk of any kind. Overall, about one in eight American Adventists can be labeled vegans. This is six or seven times the percentage among the general public.
The survey data do not include trends because earlier surveys have not asked about vegan practices. This means it is impossible to know if the percentage of vegans is growing, either in the denomination or in the general public.