400 studies show vegan diets are safe for children

| 22 March 2022
minute reading time

Don’t let the naysayers kid you

The parents of vegan children get mixed messages, often being warned that their kids are missing out on important nutrients. A review of over 400 studies concluded that a well-planned vegan diet, including vitamin B12, can provide all the essential nutrients needed for normal growth in children.

Vegan children are generally lighter but not underweight. This, they say, can be considered favourable, as childhood obesity often persists into adulthood. Similarly, the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis) starts in childhood, an early vegan diet may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke later in life.

They caution that deficiencies in vitamins B12, D and calcium seem to be the biggest risks of poorly-planned vegan diets but say that a vegan diet can benefit children by preventing deficiencies in vitamin C and folate. They say it would be useful to have more data on omega- 3s, zinc, iodine and selenium. In summary, a well-planned vegan diet can provide for all your child’s needs and help prevent disease later in life.


Sutter DO and Bender N. 2021. Nutrient status and growth in vegan children. Nutrition Research. 91, 13-25.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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