Vegetarian diets and children

Pediatr Clin North Am. 1995 Aug;42(4):955-65. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(16)40024-6.


Although the general health and development of vegan and vegetarian children seem to be normal, there may be subtle differences compared with omnivores. They are at increased risk of iron deficiency, and impaired psychomotor development associated with iron deficiency has been reported in macrobiotic infants. Fortunately, this impairment is not permanent, and follow-up studies have reported higher-than-average intelligence quotients among older macrobiotic children. Several other hazards of vegetarian diets have been identified, including vitamin B12 deficiency, rickets, and a bulky diet that can restrict energy intake in the first few years of life; however, these pitfalls can be avoided easily, and children can be successfully reared on vegetarian diets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena* / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Vegetarian* / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Rickets / etiology
  • Taurine
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / etiology


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Taurine