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NEWS RELEASE March 17, 2003

Vegan Nutrition Expert to Set Record Straight at Baby Neglect Trial

Parents aren’t really vegan; vegan diets are healthiest diets for kids, says nutritionist scheduled to testify

WASHINGTON—Nutrition experts with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are available for comment on the so-called “vegan” trial beginning this week in Queens Supreme Court. PCRM is troubled that news reports about the New York couple who nearly starved their infant daughter are confusing the public about the healthfulness of vegan diets. PCRM’s nutrition director, Amy Lanou, Ph.D., author of Healthy Eating for Life for Children, is scheduled to testify at the trial.

“Unfortunately, the Swintons were misguided and did not breastfeed or provide formula for their infant daughter, the first step in good vegan nutrition,” says Dr. Lanou. “With all the information now available about the long-term health benefits of plant-based diets, there is really no question that the vegan diet is safe—in fact, it offers the most disease-fighting protection of any dietary pattern.”

“Studies show that a meat-free vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes offers clear advantages to growing bodies. In fact, some research has even shown that vegan diets may offer advantages for developing minds as well,” says Dr. Lanou. “The Swintons weren’t even following a real vegan diet because they reportedly gave their child cod-liver oil, which is derived from fish.”

Leading baby expert Dr. Benjamin Spock embraced the use of vegan diets in the 7th edition of Baby and Child Care, the leading guide for parents. Vegan babies, like all infants, should be raised on mother’s milk or formula, eventually followed by fortified infant cereal and mashed fruits and vegetables. At approximately eight months, parents can begin introducing additional foods. To ensure adequate vitamin B12 after weaning, parents should also introduce any common children’s multivitamin.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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