Are Vegetarian Diets Adequate for Children? Essay

Are Vegetarian Diets Adequate for Children? Essay

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Are Vegetarian Diets Adequate for Children?
In 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that about 5% of Americans do not consume any meat products. Those who are meat eaters argue that meat is essential to human health, while non-meat eaters argue that it is not because the necessary nutrients in meat could be consumed in non-animal products. This brings us to the issue of the adequacy of vegetarian diets for children. This is an issue that’s rising because many argue that because children are still in the growing process, it is important for them to consume meat because it has the essential nutrients for development. On the contrary, advocates argue that vegetarians are more likely to achieve the current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations which is important for the development of children as well.
Non-vegetarians often argue that meat is an essential factor in dieting because it provides important nutrients that assist with growing and development. In the experiment that Shull, et. al (1977) conducted, they stated that vegetarian preschool children weighted less and were shorter than the norms established from the Harvard growth study. Children who were under the age of 2 were low in their growth velocity, while those over the age of 2 were more comparable to the Harvard standards. When researchers compared macrobiotics (eats organic and sea foods) and non-macrobiotic (vegetarian) diets, they found that there wasn’t a significant difference in children’s growth velocity. Although there were no significant differences, the average weight of children with macrobiotic diets over the age of 2 were higher than the average weight of children with non-macrobiotic diets. Results showed that low growth in ...

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... size seem to be too small to pull a conclusion from. Further, the sample size was purely from Boston therefore, the results can only be generalized for those who are in the states and not international.
In the second experiment, one strength that I saw was how they were able to break down the diets to specific nutrients that where low and high based on what diet the children followed. On the other hand, I felt like their sample size was not equal between the groups (omnivores and vegetarians) being measured. There were about 1300 participants who were omnivores and only about 40 participant who were vegetarian. In my opinion, they should either find more vegetarians or decrease the amount of participants from the omnivores.
Overall, both articles were equally strong in supporting their arguments based on their results even though there may have been some flaws.

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