Growth of vegetarian children: The Farm Study

Pediatrics. 1989 Sep;84(3):475-81.


To examine the effects of a vegetarian diet on child growth, height and weight data of 404 vegetarian children aged 4 months to 10 years who lived in a collective community in Tennessee were studied. Height for age, weight for age, and weight for height were compared with the US growth reference. Birth weights, infant feeding patterns, and parental heights were also evaluated in relation to growth. Most of the height for age, weight for age, and weight for height (n = 833) were within the 25th and 75th percentiles of the US growth reference. The mean height for age and weight for age, however, were slightly less than the median of the reference population. For different age groups, the mean height ranged from 0.2 to 2.1 cm and the mean weight ranged from 0.1 to 1.1 kg less than the reference median. The largest height difference was observed at 1 to 3 years of age and may be partly the result of intrinsic irregularities in the US growth reference at those ages. By 10 years of age, children from The Farm averaged 0.7 cm and 1.1 kg less than the reference median, representing only 0.1 and 0.3 SD from the reference. Thus, these children have adequate attained growth, even though it was modestly less than that of the reference population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Minerals
  • Vitamins