Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vegan Babies?

In my mind, there is such a thing as taking a belief too far. When it starts to endanger the life of your child, maybe you should ease up a little bit. I thought this was an interesting case. This article is from the UK Sunday Times and can be found here.

As some of the comments below the article state (on the original webpage), this really isn't about being's about having the common sense to know when your child is becoming unhealthy.

A 12-YEAR-OLD girl in Scotland brought up by her parents on a
strict vegan diet has been admitted to hospital with a degenerative
bone condition said to have left her with the spine of an 80-year-old

Doctors are under pressure to report the couple to police
and social workers amid concerns that her health and welfare may have
been neglected in pursuit of their dietary beliefs.

The girl, who
has been fed on a strict meat and dairy-free diet from birth, is said
to have a severe form of rickets and to have suffered a number of
fractured bones.

The condition is caused by a lack of vitamin D,
which is needed to absorb calcium and is found in liver, oily fish and
dairy produce. Decalcification leads to the bones becoming brittle and
can cause curvature of the spine.

Faisal Ahmed, the consultant paediatrician treating the child at the
Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, declined to discuss the
specific case. He said, however, that he believed the dangers of
forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet needed to be highlighted.

leading nutritionist, who asked not to be named, said: “In most
instances, the parents who are imposing this very restrictive and
potentially hazardous diet are not themselves brought up as vegans.
They are imposing on their children something . . . which we do not
know enough about to know it is safe.”

Jonathan Sher, head of
policy at Children in Scotland, an umbrella group representing 400
organisations, said social workers should intervene where a vegan diet
was putting children’s health at risk.

Last year, an American
vegan couple were given a life sentence for starving their six-week-old
baby to death. In 2001 two vegans from west London were sentenced to
three years’ community rehabilitation after they admitted starving
their baby to death.

Glasgow city council said the incident involving the 12-year-old girl had not been referred to its social work department.


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