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Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Sep;48(3 Suppl):811-8.

Vegetarian children: appropriate and inappropriate diets.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.


Acceptable and appropriate vegetarian diets fulfill the Recommended Dietary Allowances and other authoritative dietary guidelines dealing with balance, variety, moderation, and developmental appropriateness of diets for children. Vegetarian regimes currently fed to infants and children are evaluated using these criteria. Vegan-like diets, fed early in infancy and childhood, pose special problems with respect to sufficiency of certain nutrients, energy, and bulk, especially if they are unplanned and unaccompanied by ongoing health supervision. Lactovegetarian, lactoovovegetarian, and semivegetarian patterns are more likely to be satisfactory. They conform closely with the pediatric recommendations for promoting health and reducing risks of chronic degenerative diseases, are sufficient without being excessive in nutrients, are low in bulk, and are developmentally appropriate.

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