The medical opinion was requested by a representative of a national human rights organization, who sought guidance for pediatricians and other health care workers. The Royal Academy of Medicine functions as an advisory agency for Belgium’s government institutions.
Vitamins, including essential ingredients such as D and B12, calcium or even trace elements and nutrients essential for proper development are “absent from this diet,” according to a statement from Casimir.
Isabelle Thiebaut, a co-author of the opinion and president of an European organization for dieticians, said that it is important to explain to parents about “weight-loss and psychomotor delays, undernutrition, anemia” and other possible nutritional shortfalls caused by a vegan diet for children. If parents do not follow the new recommendation, children who continue to follow a vegan diet should receive supplements, medical followup and regular blood tests, according to the academy.
Not everyone agrees with the academy’s statement.
The same opinion is maintained across the pond.
“Appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an US organization for nutrition professionals. “These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”