Experiences of Vegans with General Practitioners in the Austrian Health Care System: A Qualitative Study

Nutrients. 2024 Jan 29;16(3):392. doi: 10.3390/nu16030392.


This article explores the factors influencing the choice of general practitioners (GPs) and their role in the health care of vegans in Austria. The number of people identifying as vegan is on the rise, and GPs are increasingly confronted with vegan patients. A qualitative method was chosen for this study, and 14 semi-structured interviews with vegans were conducted between April 2022 and July 2022. Participants were recruited primarily through vegan social media groups. In their experiences with health care, vegans felt treated unequally or sometimes incorrectly. The experiences described highlight that participants felt that most GPs were biased against their veganism. Information exchange among vegans primarily takes place online and through publications of vegan associations, while GPs play a minor role in information provision. As the number of vegans grows, an appreciative way of communicating between GPs and vegan patients ought to be promoted. Voluntary interdisciplinary nutritional training, collaboration of the medical field with support organizations, provision of evidence-based information, and collaboration with dietitians and nutritionists could enrich the care of patients with a vegan diet.

Keywords: experience; general practitioner; patients’ perspective; vegan community; vegan diet.

MeSH terms

  • Austria
  • Diet, Vegan*
  • Diet, Vegetarian
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Vegans

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.