Parents of girl brought up on vegan diet may face charges

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Medical Conditions, In The News, Going Green

Parents of a 12-year-old Scottish girl may face charges after the child was brought to the hospital with a degenerative bone disease. Doctors say that she has the spine of an 80-year-old, caused by a severe case of rickets, which occurs when a person does not get enough vitamin D. In addition to her curved spine, she also has had several broken bones.

Though doctors are not yet commenting on the case, some feel that her condition was caused by the strict vegan diet she was raised on since birth. Vegan diets don't allow meat, fish, or dairy, which are good sources of vitamin D (as is the sun).

Last year, a couple was sentenced to life in prison for letting their newborn starve on what they perceived to be a vegan diet. Since then, the question has been asked again and again: Are vegan diets safe for kids? The trend has nutritionists concerned, that's for sure. In our own home, we've toyed with vegetarianism several times, but we've never, ever restricted what our kids ate. It takes a lot of research, thought, and meal planning to get the correct balance of nutrients on a vegan diet, not just a strong desire to avoid animal products.

Kids have different nutritional needs than adults, so to feed them properly on a restricted diet, you really have to know your stuff. If I was going to go that route (and I'm not), I'd even go so far as to talk to a nutritionist first. Sadly, however, cases like the ones in this article, where parents let their enthusiasm for their beliefs get ahead of good nutrition, keep popping up.

To read more about how to feed kids a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet, visit Kids Health.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.