Are children who follow a vegetarian diet at risk of becoming underweight? What the study actually says

In addition to the alarmism that soon spread in our country thanks to some newspapers, the Canadian study recommends plant nutrition even for the little ones

A new study on child nutrition conducted in Canada, the results of which have been released in recent days, revives the eternal controversy surrounding the “forced” administration of a vegetarian diet for children, with potentially harmful consequences for their health. But is a meat and fish free diet really a threat to children?

In fact, this is by no means the conclusion reached by the researchers, which has crossed data concerning almost 9,000 children between the ages of six months and eight years, both omnivores and vegetarians, and which has recorded levels of growth and nutrition. between the two groups. In practice, a diet free of meat and fish does not pose a risk to the child’s healthy growth.

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According to data shared by the researchers, children who follow a vegetarian diet have very similar levels of iron, vitamin D and cholesterol than children who also eat meat and fish. But not only that: even the parameters regarding height and body mass index (BMI) must be considered within the norm.

Particular attention should be paid to weight: in fact, children exposed to a vegetarian diet are more likely than omnivorous children to become underweight if their daily diet does not meet the nutritional needs necessary to support healthy growth.

Rather than demonization of the vegetarian diet for the little onesbut researchers still recommend it as it helps with the risk of developing obesity and obesity in children, which will be difficult to eradicate in adulthood. To remove the possibility of the vegetarian child becoming underweight, we recommend a consultation with the pediatrician or a nutritionist, who will be able to guide the parents on the most appropriate choices of food for the child’s growth.

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Plant-based dietary patterns are recognized as a healthy eating pattern thanks to massive doses of fruits, vegetables, fiber, whole grains and the reduction of saturated fat – explains Dr. Maguire, one of the authors of the study. Vegetarian diet also seems to be appropriate for most children.

In conclusion: children, even very young ones, may face a vegetarian diet without consequences for their health and growth, but as long as they are followed by a specialist during the diet. The vegetarian diet is actually recommended for children (as well as adults) because it is rich in vitamins, fiber and “good” fats.

unfortunately the echo of the Canadian study arrived in Italy in a distorted and alarmist way – as often happens: the Italian press once again demonizes the vegetable diet, especially for the little ones, and insists on the (real!) risk of children becoming underweight, but without talking about the benefits of this type of diet or clarifying the possibility of Being underweight can be eliminated by talking to a doctor.

On the other hand, the same aggressive spirit that appeals to the vegetarian (or vegan) diet for children disappears when it comes to the omnivorous diet – and the media does not scandalize the alarming levels of overweight and obesity recorded among children as their diet does not, it is followed and controlled properly. Attention and control must be primarily in the nutrition of the little ones – be it omnivorous or vegetarian.

unfortunately on diet plan-based there are still too many prejudicesespecially in our country, and these prejudices are all too often evoked by the media demonizing plant nutrition without talking about the risks associated with omnivores – as when there was news of vegan children ending up in the hospital because they had drunk plant milk .

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Source: Pediatrics

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