Children on Vegan Diets Are Shorter on Average, with Smaller and Weaker Bones

In a new study, researchers from the University College London's Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health discovered that children of 5-10 years who eat plant-based diets are on average 3 cm shorter than those who eat meat. Also, their bones were smaller and weaker, which increases the risk of fractures or osteoporosis later in life.Children on Vegan Diets Are Shorter on Average, with Smaller and Weaker Bones

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 187 healthy kids aged 5 to 10 years in Poland. This group included 63 vegetarians, 52 vegans, and 72 omnivores. The analysis showed that kids on vegan diets were on average 3 cm shorter and had 4 to 6% lower bone mineral content. Also, they were more than three times more likely to be deficient in vitamin B-12 compared to omnivores.

Co-author of the study Prof. Mary Fewtrell says: “Maximizing bone health in children is recommended with the aim of reducing future osteoporosis and fracture risk. We found that vegan children had lower bone mass even after accounting for their smaller bodies and bone size. This means they may enter adolescence, a phase when bone-specific nutrient needs are higher, with a bone deficit already established.”

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