Vegan or vegetarian diets, for adults (if they want), not for children and teenagers

In recent years the number of people who opt for a vegetarian diet and who include their children in this food option has increased. This forces pediatricians to know their main characteristics and the composition of the most commonly used foods, in order to ensure the health of children.

The French Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Group (GFJGNP) warns about the consumption of vegetarian diets through a document that offers recommendations to prevent deficiencies to which children and young people are exposed when adopting a vegan diet.

It is necessary to know their deficiencies to be able to act later in young children. Although initially these diets were limited to the adult public, in recent years parents have passed this trend to their children.

The GFHGNP confirms that “more and more children and adolescents succumb to the vegan diet, attracted by speeches without any scientific basis.” The exclusion of any animal product inevitably leads these children and adolescents to nutritional deficiencies throughout their lives.

The publication of which we make this brief summary has the particularity of being focused on pediatricians. Vegetarian diets are those that are exempt from meat and meat products (including poultry) and fish (including shellfish and their derivatives). Depending on the type of vegetarian diet, it can include eggs or dairy products (ovo / dairy-vegetarian) or exclude any animal products, including honey (vegan diet).

India is the country with the highest proportion of followers of the vegetarian diet, with 30% (for religious reasons); United Kingdom, 12%; Australia, 11.2%; Sweden 10%; Germany 9% and France 2%.

Pediatricians are already positioning themselves: an exclusively vegetarian or vegan diet exposes children to nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium … Therefore, these diets should not be the basis of children’s daily diet.

You can have more information in the report of the French Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Group, in this link.

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