Velocities of growth in vegetarian preschool children.


Shull MW, Reed RB, Valadian I, Palombo R, Thorne H, Dwyer JT.




Study Design: 


The growth velocities (weight and length) of vegetarian preschool children were compared to norms established from the Harvard growth study. At first measurement vegetarian subjects weighed less and were shorter than expected from Harvard standards. Growth velocities of children under 2 years of age were depressed, while among those over the age of 2 growth velocities were generally comparable to Harvard norms. Vegetarian boys over age 2 exhibited a higher mean weight velocity. Macrobiotics' mean weight and length velocities were not significantly different from those of nonmacrobiotics before age 2. However, the mean weight velocity of macrobiotics over age 2 was significantly greater than the mean weight velocity of nonmacrobiotics over 2 years. Low growth velocities of vegetarian children are more apparent in infants under the age of 2. When breast-feeding, possibly inadequate supplemental feeding may be present past 6 months of age. Since it is then that the velocities are more likely to be depressed, this may be the most appropriate time for surveillance and possible intervention.