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DIETARY HABITS DURING THE FIRST YEARS OF LIFE: A REVIEW

Pietro FERRARA, Federica DI RUSCIO, Federica SANDULLO, Giulia FRANCESCHINI, Antonio RUGGIERO

Abstract


Background The aim of this review was to obtain a further understanding of the reported beneficial health effects of vegetarian diets.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recorded doubts about their nutritional adequacy, but recent recommendations have been much more positive.

Materials and methods The database MEDLINE (via Pubmed, http://www.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov/pubmed) was used to identify relevant studies published in worldwide up until 10th march 2018. The studies were selected according the following inclusion criteria: time limitation, language of publication, population, data on dietary intake and nutritional and/or health status and kinds of study. 

Results Parents are often reluctant to discuss dietary habits with the pediatricians because the majority do not recommend vegetarian or vegan diets, leading to a more complicated communication. However, dietetic regimens excluding meat, particularly vegan diets, should be consider by parents cooperating with pediatrics or dietary supervision to ensure that the infant receives a sufficient supply of nutrients.

Conclusion During pregnancy and lactation, well-planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets have been stated to be adequate, concerning the nutritional intake needed to the mother and the infant. Pregnant and lactating vegan women also have a greater odds of developing B12 vitamin, D vitamin, calcium and docosahexaenoic acid deficiency, than their lacto-ovo-vegetarian and omnivore counterparts. The planned lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet allows the adequate development from infancy to adulthood; however, there is insufficient evidence about the appropriateness of the vegan diet on long-term growth. Vegans who do not consume fortified foods or supplementations may develop B12 vitamin, D vitamin, calcium and iodine deficiency.


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