Vegetarian diet in children: possible growth disorders? New analysis published

No more sausages for children: Canadian researchers have now determined whether a vegetarian diet is harmful.

© Thomas Trutschel/Image

Raising children without sausages or meat: is it a good idea or does it increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies? A team of researchers has addressed this question.

A common myth: those who eat vegetarian food are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Indeed, an unbalanced diet can lead to an insufficient supply of magnesium, potassium or other important substances, but this also applies to meat eaters. Anyone who eats sausage and steak but strictly bans other food groups like dairy or vegetables from their plate increases their risk of deficiency symptoms. The same applies to vegetarians who eat too much unilaterally. So in general: The more balanced you eat, the better. Anyone who cuts meat and sausage off the menu or eats it only rarely is actually doing something good for themselves and their health, as several studies on vegetarian nutrition suggest.

Those who follow a vegetarian diet usually consume dairy products and eggs as a source of protein in addition to vegetables and fruits. What many do not know: Tofu, seitan and beans are also very good sources of protein. Iron deficiency is also sometimes a concern when it comes to vegetarian nutrition. However, this is unfounded if someone frequently uses plant-based iron providers. These include oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, sesame, and whole grains.

But what if your parents Feed the kids vegetarian? Can the rumor that a purely plant-based diet negatively affects their growth be true?

nutrition survey

Vegetarian children are more likely to be underweight

A team led by Jonathon Maguire of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto evaluated the effects of a vegetarian diet on children’s development as part of a study. According to the medical journal, data from children aged between six months and eight years were analyzed for this purpose. A total of 8,907 children participated, including 248 vegetarians and 25 vegans at baseline. Study participants were examined by pediatricians at regular intervals regarding their health development. Also Blood tests and interviews with parents. Habits and diet were evaluated.

“We found no evidence of clinically significant differences in growth or biochemical measures of nutrition in children on a vegetarian diet.“, according to the result of the study of the researchers, who published their study in the scientific journal Pediatrics. According to the researchers, the vegetarian diet had no negative impact on body mass index, height, vitamin D levels or the serum levels, such as blood lipid levels. However, there is a caveat. The study leaders reported that vegetarian children who did not eat cow’s milk had somewhat less favorable blood lipid levels than vegetarian children who drank two glasses of milk a day or children who ate meat.

What the study revealed, however, was that children who were exclusively vegetarian were 87 percent more likely to be underweight than the control group. Therefore, study leader Jonathon Maguire advises parents to consider a vegetarian diet. adequate weight gain of her son, reports the medical journal. (jg)

More information about the study “Vegetarian Diet, Growth, and Nutrition in Early Childhood: A Longitudinal Cohort Study”

release date: May 2, 2022

investigation period: The study is based on data from the Canadian collaborative study “targetkids”, whose objective is to analyze and promote the health of Canadian children.

Released I’m in the scientific journal Pediatrics

Scope: 8,907 study participants

study authors: Canadian research team led by Jonathon Maguire of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto

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