Study Protocol of "Sustainably Healthy-From Science 2 Highschool & University"-Prevalence of Mixed, Vegetarian, and Vegan Diets Linked to Sports & Exercise among Austrian Tertiary Students and Lecturers/Academic Staff

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 19;19(22):15313. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192215313.


Healthy lifestyle is the major indicator of individual and public health especially in target populations (e.g., during emerging adulthood). Evidence indicates that unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are strongly associated with the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. The dual approach of sustainable health (i.e., physical exercise tied to a healthy diet) is an effective lifestyle strategy to control and manage health-related disorders, including overweight/obesity. Based on the evidence on plant-based diets regarding health and considering the growing prevalence of vegans and vegetarians worldwide, limited data exist on the health-related behaviors of those who follow plant-based vs. mixed diets in young adulthood. This multidisciplinary study is the first to examine the association between diet type (mixed, vegetarian, and vegan diets) and various health-related behaviors (primarily physical activity, sport, & exercise) among college/university students and lecturers/academic staff in Austria nationwide. Following a cross-sectional study design and using online questionnaires, 4510 tertiary students and 1043 lecturers/academic staff provided data on sociodemographic characteristics, dietary patterns, physical exercise habits, and other lifestyle behaviors (sleep, alcohol intake, smoking, etc.) along with information on health status and quality of life. While the data will be analyzed based on differentiated sociodemographic and health-related categories, the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on lifestyle behaviors will also be evaluated. As a study protocol, this article represents comprehensive details of the design, purposes, and associated analytical measures of the present study within the tertiary educational context.

Keywords: conventional diet; diet type; dietary behavior; emerging adulthood; lifestyle; physical activity; plant-based; public health; sustainable diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Vegan*
  • Exercise
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Vegetarians
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This Austria-nationwide study is funded by the TWF (Tiroler Wissenschaftsförderung; reference number: F.30976/6-2021). However, the TWF was and is still not involved in the study procedures, and thus, there is and will be no impact from the funding agency on the study design, conduction and data collection, data analysis, presentations, and/or publication of the results.