An Italian baby had to be hospitalized after his parents decided to put him on a vegan diet. The small child was brought to the clinic by his grandparents, who were worried about his general condition.
The Italian Baby Emergency Case
At one year and two months, the baby had the weight of a 3-month-old. The kid was found to have been severely malnourished and suffering from a very low calcium levels.
Immediately after hospitalization, the baby had to undergo an emergency operation as he also had a congenital heart condition. The clinical diagnosis was aggravated by the low calcium levels.
The case had been reported to social services, and the parents lost the custodial rights.
The director of the pediatric unit where the baby received medical care said that the vegan diet in itself was not the problem. The only thing that the parents should have made sure of is that the child would receive the correct amount of calcium and iron.
Child Malnutrition and the Vegan Diet
The case is not singular in Italy. Earlier this year, a 2-year-old girl had to be hospitalized because of dangerously low levels of vitamins and hemoglobin. Last year, an 11-month-old baby had to be treated for severe malnutrition.
Italy is not a singular case. All over the world, small children are hospitalized because of malnutrition and lack of parental care.
In 2007, a vegan couple received life sentences after their baby died of starvation. The child was fed with soy milk and apple juice, and the jury found them guilty of manslaughter, murder, and cruelty to children.
In 2011, a French vegan couple was charged with neglect after their baby died from vitamin deficiencies.
The Medical Experts’ Advice
After these cases entered the media, more and more people started to blame veganism of killing children. However, experts say that a proper vegan diet can offer children all the nutrients they need in order to grow healthy.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends parents to add supplements or fortified foods for iron, calcium, vitamin D and B12 to a vegan diet that lacks milk products and eggs.
Doctors all around the world agree that the issue is not the type of nutritional regime chosen by the parent, but the lack of vitamins, calcium, and other nutrients.
The medical experts say that parents have the freedom to choose what to feed their kid, as long as they make sure the child receives the correct amount of calories and nutrients. Parents are also advised to consult with a nutritionist.
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