Vegetarianism in the different stages of childhood

According to the American Dietetic Association, well planned vegan, lacto-vegetarian and ovo-lacto-vegetarian diets provide for all needs during babyhood, infancy and adolescence, promoting normal growth. Vegetarian diets at this stage can also help to establish lifelong healthy eating habits and can offer some nutritional advantages, as vegetarian children and adolescents have a lower intake of cholesterol, fat and saturated fat, and a higher intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre than those who do not follow a vegetarian diet.

Those who follow a vegetarian diet at this age are slimmer and have a lower level of blood cholesterol.

Pregnant Women and Breastfeeding Mothers

Ovo-lacto-vegetarians and vegan expectant mothers are able to meet all their nutritional and energy needs from their diet, and their babies´ birth weights are similar to those for babies born to non-vegetarian mothers… read more

The First Year of Life

When babies on a vegetarian diet receive sufficient quantities of maternal milk, or adapted baby formula, and their diets contain good sources of energy and nutrients such as iron, vitamin B₁₂ and vitamin D, growth throughout infancy is normal… read more

The 1 to 3 Years Period

At this age, whether or not they are following a vegetarian diet, children tend to eat less owing to an increased sense of independence and a reduction in the speed of growth. These first years are also important for establishing the basis of healthy eating habits for the future… read more


Children following an ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet show a similar growth rate to Non-vegetarian children. Those following a vegan diet tend to be slightly smaller and lighter, but within normal limits. Slower growth has been found where very restricted diets are concerned… read more


Studies suggest that there is little difference in growth between adolescents who follow a vegetarian diet and those who do not. In the West, it has been recorded that girls following a vegetarian diet usually have their first period at a somewhat later age… read more

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