Experts warn about risks of nutrient deficiencies in children on vegan diets
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Experts have warned parents about the risks that vegan diets may pose to their children.
Veganism is a trendy lifestyle that is gaining popularity. A vegan diet includes only plant-based foods and excludes any products with animal-based ingredients.
According to experts, cutting back on animal products can lead to deficiencies.
According to the Daily Mail Online, a new study by the University College London's Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health found that a vegan diet can cause children to grow up short and with weaker bones.
The study looked at 187 healthy 5 to 10-year-olds and found that children who live on a vegan diet were three centimetres shorter than those who ate meat.
It also found them to be more than three times likely to be vitamin B-12 deficient.
However, it found that children who follow a vegan diet had a better cardiovascular profile.
Vegan children should take vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements, according to the authors, to avoid long-term health consequences.
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products and is necessary for good health. Vitamin D also has numerous benefits, including strong bones, a healthy immune system and strong muscles.
In 2017, The Vegan Society issued a press release on its website in response to another study warning that vegan diets may be harmful to children.
Part of the statement read: "Every diet carries its risks, especially where children are concerned. All parents should carefully research diets for their children to ensure they are eating healthily and receive adequate nutrition. Nutrients deficiencies are not an exclusively vegan problem and it is unfair to paint them as such."
Dr Magorzata Desmond, a co-author of the new study, noted that they aim to conduct additional research to help maximize the health benefits of plant-based diets in children.