Is a Vegetarian diet harmful to children's growth and nutrition?

Is a Vegetarian diet harmful to children's growth and nutrition? ...

A survey of almost 9,000 children found that those who eat a vegetarian diet had similar growth and nutrition than children who eat meat. Moreover, according to a research conducted at the St. Michaels Hospital of Unity Health Toronto, children with a vegetarian diet showed higher chances of weight loss, claiming that special care is required when planning vegetarian diets.

The findings come as Canada shifts to consuming a plant-based diet. In 2019, updates to Canada''s Food Guide urged Canadians to adopt plant-based proteins, such as beans and tofu, instead of meat.

Over the last 20 years, we have seen the rise of plant-based diets and a changing food environment that provides greater access to plant-based alternatives, but we haven''t seen research into the nutritional outcomes of children following vegetarian diets in Canada, according to Dr. Jonathon Maguire, the author of the study and a pediatrician at St. Michaels Hospital of Unity Health Toronto.

Canadian children who took vegetarian diets had similar growth and biochemical measures of nutrition, according to a study. Vegetarian diet was associated with higher odds of underweight weight status, highlighting the need for careful dietary planning for underweight children when it comes to vegetarian eating regimes.

Participants were categorized by vegetarian status as a dietary pattern that excludes meat or non-vegetarian status, according to a survey conducted by the TARGet Kids! cohort group.

Researchers found that children who consumed meat had a similar mean body mass index (BMI), height, iron, vitamin D, and cholesterol levels. Interestingly, children with a vegetarian diet had two-fold higher chances of having obese, which is defined as below the third percentile for BMI. There was no link to obesity or obesity.

Underweight is an indicator of undernutrition, and it may be a sign that the quality of the child''s diet isn''t satisfacting the child''s nutritional requirements to help their growth. For children who eat a vegetarian diet, researchers emphasised access to healthcare providers who can provide growth monitoring, education, and guidance.

International guidelines on vegetarian diet in infancy and childhood have differing findings, and previous studies that have studied the relationship between vegetarian diet and childhood growth and nutritional status have found some conflicting findings.

Because of increased intake of fruits, vegetables, fiber, whole grains, and reduced saturated fat, plant-based dietary patterns are recognized as a healthy eating pattern; however, few research have examined the effects of vegetarian diets on childhood growth and nutritional status. Dr. Maguire, an assistant professor at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michaels Hospital, has also discovered that vegetarian diets are appropriate for most individuals.

The findings suggest that the researchers did not evaluate the quality of vegetarian foods. This suggests that vegetarian foods vary in many forms, and that the quality of the individual diet may be significant to growth and nutritional outcomes. Further research is needed to evaluate the quality of vegetarian diets in childhood, as well as growth and nutrition outcomes among children following a vegan diet, which excludes meat and animal derived foods such as dairy, egg, and honey.

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