Research by the Great Ormond Street Institute for Children’s Health, University of London, recommends that parents be aware of the risks of a vegan diet.
Children on a vegan diet should be given vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements to reduce the possible long-term health consequences of eating only plant-based foods, the authors say.
Amid concerns about animal welfare and the environment is increasing, sThe number of vegetarians in the UK has quadrupled in four years to around 600,000.
Vegetarians cut out all animal products, including milk, eggs, and even honey. There is little evidence that consumption of animal products can cause damage to children’s health.
Lead author Professor Jonathan Wells, from University College London, said: “We know that people are increasingly attracted to plant-based diets for a number of reasons, such as promoting animal welfare. and reduce anthropogenic impacts on the climate.
A global shift to plant-based diets is now recognized as crucial to preventing climate disruption and we strongly support this effort.
We also know that to date, studies on the health effects of diets on children have been largely limited to assessing height and weight and have only been conducted in vegetarian children. . Our study provides an insight into health outcomes in children following vegetarian and vegan diets.”
WOMENResearch has found that putting children on a vegetarian diet makes children’s bones weaker and shorter in height.
The new study looked at 187 healthy children aged 5-10 years in Poland. Of these, 63 were vegetarian, 52 were vegan and 72 were on a regular diet.
Vegetarian children are on average 3cm shorter, have 4-6% lower bone mineral content and are three times more likely to have vitamin B12 deficiency than those who eat whole animals.
Co-author Professor Mary Fewtrell added: “Maximizing bone health in children is recommended with the aim of reducing osteoporosis and future fracture risk.
We found that children who were vegetarians had lower bone mass, even smaller body and bone sizes.
This means that by the time children enter adolescence, a period when the need for bone-specific nutrients is higher, bone deficiencies are already established long before that.
If this deficiency is due to dietary intake that persists into adolescence, it may increase the risk of adverse bone conditions later in life.”
On the plus side, however, the vegan kids had lower body fat and 25% lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Co-author Dr Małgorzata Desmond, said: “We found that vegans had higher nutrient intakes suggesting that plant-based diets were associated with reduced body fat. body and a better risk of cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, lower levels of protein, calcium, vitamins B12 and D may explain Serum mineral and vitamin concentrations inhibit bone growth.
We were initially surprised at the poor cardiovascular health of the vegetarian children, but the dietary data show that they are eating a relatively processed, plant-based diet, with a healthy diet. less healthy amounts of fiber and sugar than kids on a vegan diet.
So we’ve found that eating a plant-based diet alone is not a guarantee of health, and that people still need to prioritize healthy food choices.”
The researchers hope their findings help inform more advice to the public on how people can eat healthily with a plant-based diet.
Professor Wells added: “This is especially true for children as they may have higher nutrient requirements during their growing period. We look forward to conducting further studies to help maximize the health benefits of plant-based diets in children.”
Huong Giang (via: dailymail)