Vegetarian diets in childhood and adolescence : Position paper of the nutrition committee, German Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ)

Creators: Rudloff, Silvia and Bührer, Christoph and Jochum, Frank and Kauth, Thomas and Kersting, Mathilde and Körner, Antje and Koletzko, Berthold and Mihatsch, Walter A. and Prell, Christine and Reinehr, Thomas and Zimmer, Klaus-Peter
Title: Vegetarian diets in childhood and adolescence : Position paper of the nutrition committee, German Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ)
Item Type: Article or issue of a publication series
Journal or Series Title: Molecular and Cellular Pediatrics : official journal of The German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Page Range: pp. 1-7
Additional Information: Creative Commons 4.0
Date: 2019
Divisions: Gesundheitsmanagement
Abstract (ENG): In Western countries, vegetarian diets are associated with lower intakes of energy, saturated fatty acids and animal protein and higher intakes of fibre and phytochemicals, compared to omnivorous diets. Whether the corresponding health benefits in vegetarians outweigh the risks of nutrient deficiencies has not been fully clarified. It should be noted that vegetarians often have a higher socioeconomic status, follow a more health-conscious lifestyle with higher physical activity, and refrain from smoking more often than non-vegetarians. The nutritional needs of growing children and adolescents can generally be met through a balanced, vegetable-based diet; however, due to their higher nutrient requirements per kilogramme of body weight, vegetarian children have a higher risk for developing nutrient deficiencies than adults. With a vegetarian diet, the mean intakes of some nutrients, such as the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are lower than in omnivores or those eating fish. For other nutrients, such as iron and zinc, the bioavailability from vegetable foodstuffs is reduced when the intake of phytates and fibre is high; thus, the prevalence of iron deficiency can be increased despite high vitamin C intake. In addition, vitamin B12 is only found in animal-source foods. Vitamin B12 should be supplemented in people of all age groups who follow a strict vegan diet without consuming animal products. A vegetarian diet in childhood and adolescence requires good information and supervision by a paediatrician, if necessary, in cooperation with an appropriately trained dietary specialist.
Forthcoming: No
Language: English
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Citation:

Rudloff, Silvia and Bührer, Christoph and Jochum, Frank and Kauth, Thomas and Kersting, Mathilde and Körner, Antje and Koletzko, Berthold and Mihatsch, Walter A. and Prell, Christine and Reinehr, Thomas and Zimmer, Klaus-Peter (2019) Vegetarian diets in childhood and adolescence : Position paper of the nutrition committee, German Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ). Molecular and Cellular Pediatrics : official journal of The German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 6 (4). pp. 1-7. ISSN 2194-7791

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