Macrobiotic nutrition and child health: results of a population-based, mixed-longitudinal cohort study in The Netherlands

Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 May;59(5 Suppl):1187S-1196S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/59.5.1187S.


A population-based study on the nutritional status of children consuming macrobiotic diets was carried out in The Netherlands. Participants followed a macrobiotic diet based mainly on whole-grain cereals, pulses, and vegetables. Studies in children aged 0-10 y suggested that growth was retarded mainly between 6 and 18 mo. This was confirmed in a subsequent mixed-longitudinal study (including data on diet, anthropometry, blood chemistry, and pediatric examination) in 4-18 mo-old macrobiotic infants and a matched omnivorous control group. Ubiquitous deficiencies of energy, protein, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, and riboflavin were detected in macrobiotic infants, leading to retarded growth, fat and muscle wasting, and slower psychomotor development. Breast milk from macrobiotic mothers contained less vitamin B-12, calcium, and magnesium. Supplementation of the macrobiotic diet with fat (minimum 20-25 g/d), fatty fish (minimum 100-150 g/wk), and dairy products (minimum 150-250 g/d) is recommended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / deficiency
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / etiology
  • Diet, Macrobiotic* / adverse effects
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Netherlands
  • Protein Deficiency / etiology
  • Riboflavin Deficiency / etiology
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / etiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology


  • Calcium