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Karine Lacroix et al., Matthew Goldberg, Jennifer Marlon, Seth Rosenthal, Matthew Ballew, Xinran Wang, Martial Jefferson, Jillian Semaan and Anthony Leiserowitz


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, Health

Resource Types

  • Scientific Papers or Reports
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Understanding Differences in Americans' Motivations for Eating Plant-Rich Foods

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  • This report presents the findings of a survey to determine what motivates Americans to have a more plant-based diet and provides recommendations to encourage people further.
  • The data collected from the survey is presented in graphs, segmenting parts of the population based on their motivations.
Teaching Tips


  • The article presents the findings through a series of charts while discussing the conclusions drawn from said findings.
  • This article is a great way to introduce students to how population segmentation and surveys are used in scientific studies.
  • After reading the article, students can participate in the survey.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with reading and interpreting graphs.
  • The study is specific to the motivations of Americans. Students should be aware that these findings do not reflect the motivations and barriers of people living in other countries.
  • Students should click the hyperlinks related to the Six Americas Survey to better understand the final population segmentation presented in the article.


  • As a challenge, have more advanced students try to interpret the data presented in the graphs before reading the researchers' conclusions.
  • This resource can also be used in statistics classes during lessons about interpreting data, means, confidence intervals, and research.
  • As an extension, have students follow the instructions at the bottom of the article to use the survey tool and determine their community's willingness and motivation to adopt a plant-based diet.
  • Have students read this article to learn more about the potential of adopting plant-rich diets to reduce carbon emissions.
Scientist Notes
The website provides a brief overview of a study in the process of being published, a link to the study including raw data and R script is provided. The study looks at the motivation of Americans to incorporate plant-based foods into their diets, the surveyed motives include: health, environment, and ethical reasons. Potential messaging strategies are also discussed in an effort to ensure that corporations can more effectively market their products. This resource would be a great addition to a classroom discussing climate change and what individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprints. A marketing or computer coding class would also enjoy this resource as an example of effective marketing and data analysis.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.8 Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability: Interpreting Categorical & Quantitative Data (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.ID.A.4 Use the mean and standard deviation of a data set to fit it to a normal distribution and to estimate population percentages. Recognize that there are data sets for which such a procedure is not appropriate. Use calculators, spreadsheets, and tables to estimate areas under the normal curve.
    • Statistics & Probability: Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.B.3 Recognize the purposes of and differences among sample surveys, experiments, and observational studies; explain how randomization relates to each.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.5 Propose ways to reduce or prevent injuries and health problems.
      • 1.12.7 Compare and contrast the benefits of and barriers to practicing a variety of healthy behaviors.
    • Standard 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
      • 3.12.3 Determine the accessibility of products and services that enhance health.
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    • I love eating plant rich foods
      1 year ago