Children who follow vegetarian diets have similar growth and nutrition compared to children who eat meat, according to new research published in Pediatrics. Approximately 9,000 children aged 6 months to 8 years from the TARGet Kids! cohort study followed either a vegetarian diet or a nonvegetarian diet for 11 years. Researchers tracked height, weight, and blood levels for iron, vitamin D, and cholesterol. A vegetarian diet provided enough vitamin D and iron and did not hinder growth when compared to nonvegetarian diets. There was no association between eating a vegetarian diet and overweight or obesity.
Elliott LJ, Keown-Stoneman CDG, Birken CS, Jenkins DJA, Borkhoff CM, Maguire JL; on behalf of the TARGet KIDS! COLLABORATION. Vegetarian diet, growth, and nutrition in early childhood: a longitudinal cohort study. Pediatrics. 2022;e2021052598-e2021052610. doi:10.1542/peds.2021-052598