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Bill McCarthy, adjunct professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, was interviewed Aug. 24 by 89.3 KPCC about the health implications of raising children with a vegan diet.
Some vegan diets may not provide kids with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin B12. Low B12 levels can hamper neurological development, as well as cause irritability and weakness.
Adjunct professor of public health at UCLA Bill McCarthy suggested closely monitoring vegan children’s vitamin levels and making changes accordingly.
“Even though most parents of vegan children are aware of the need for supplementation, nonetheless, when tested using a simple blood test, the children do show some signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency,” McCarthy said.
There are vegan B12 supplements on the market, though Mangels said kids should start with a daily multivitamin.
She and McCarthy agreed that ultimately what’s most important is making sure your child gets the nutrients they need.
“You can have a lousy animal diet or conversely a vegetarian or vegan diet that’s not healthy. It’s not just [about] veganism versus animal foods, but also the quality of your food choices,” McCarthy said.