Being on a vegan or vegetarian diet requires a lot of careful planning to ensure that kids — and adults — are meeting their nutritional needs.
If one foreign politician had her way, any parents who feed their children a vegan diet would be thrown in jail.
Elvira Savino, a member of the conservative party in Italy named Forza Italia, proposed a policy that states legal action would be required if parents impose a vegan or vegetarian meal plan on any of their children under the age of 16 — even if this lifestyle is followed for religious or ethical reasons.
According to the New York Daily News, Savino strongly believes a plant-based diet lacks vital nutrients and could put children in “mortal danger from unwary parents who have decided to follow a philosophical movement.” She suggests a guilty parent receive a punishment of either one or two years behind bars (if the child becomes ill), and up to six years in prison if the child dies from malnutrition.
“The threat of imprisonment for someone feeding children under 16 a vegan diet is unwarranted,”, said dietitian Katherine Brooking, co-author of The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits and Slim Solutions and co-founder of Appetite for Health.
She quickly points out that both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatrics have stated that “well-planned vegetarian and vegan eating patterns are healthy for infants and toddlers.”
For anyone weighing the pros and cons of this regime, it’s important to note that going vegan takes a considerable amount of planning, research, and guidance because it’s imperative “to ensure that children and teens — and adults — on a vegan diet are meeting all their nutritional needs.