Are Vegetarian Diets Adequate for Children?

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Are Vegetarian Diets Adequate for Children?
In 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that about 5% of Americans do not consume any meat products. Those who are meat eaters argue that meat is essential to human health, while non-meat eaters argue that it is not because the necessary nutrients in meat could be consumed in non-animal products. This brings us to the issue of the adequacy of vegetarian diets for children. This is an issue that’s rising because many argue that because children are still in the growing process, it is important for them to consume meat because it has the essential nutrients for development. On the contrary, advocates argue that vegetarians are more likely to achieve the current American
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Results showed that vegetarians tend to have lower energy intakes than omnivores. Energy coming from proteins and fats is not as efficient as getting it from carbohydrates. Their cholesterol intakes were low considerably while their micro-nutrients could be high or low. Additionally, Serum ferritin (iron levels) appeared to be low in vegetarians, but their antioxidant vitamins were high. This study is comparable to Shull’s (1977) experiment because her results showed that vegetarians experienced low hemoglobin levels, which is related to iron deficiency as well. Overall, the study concluded that nutritious intakes and status were generally sufficient in children who are vegetarians. Even though vegetarians were shown to have low levels of iron, the low intakes of fat, cholesterol, sodium, and high consumption of antioxidants from their diet is nutritionally sufficient to maintain a healthy body
Thane and Bates (2000) obtained these results from a sample of 1351 children. There were 25 vegetarians under 3 and 19 that were older; there were 668 omnivores under 3 years old and 639 were older. Before the study begun, socio-demographic information of participants was collected. After, participants were subdivided into 2 different groups: younger (1.5-3 years old) and older (3-4.5 years old). The dietary intake of participants were measured based on records that parents were required to log. Parents were asked to log all the foods their child
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