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Doctor Faisal Ahmed Glasgow Fox News article:
Parents of 12-Year-Old Vegan Girl Who Has Degenerative Condition May Face Charges - 2008

Published June 09, 2008
The parents of a 12-year-old girl in Scotland brought up by her parents on a strict vegan diet might face police after she landed in the hospital with a degenerative bone condition that apparently left her with the spine of an 80-year-old woman.
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.
Dr Faisal Ahmed, the consultant pediatrician treating the child at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, Scotland, 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.
"In most instances, the parents who are imposing this very restrictive and potentially hazardous diet are not themselves brought up as vegans," said a leading nutritionist, who asked not to be identified. "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 organizations, 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 6-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.

Healthy Home Economist article:
12 Year Old Vegan Has the Degenerating Bones of 80 Year Old

A 12 year old girl raised on a strict vegan diet was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, Scotland, suffering from a severe form of rickets. The girl had already experienced multiple fractures and been diagnosed with a degenerated spine comparable to that of an unhealthy 80-year-old woman.
Fox News reports the hospital doctors are under pressure to report the couple to police and social workers. Dr. Faisal Ahmed, a pediatrician treating the child, declined to discuss specifics, but allowed the dangers of forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet need to be publicized.
If raised strictly vegan, the child would almost certainly have severe deficiencies of Vitamins A and D, both of which are essential bone nutrients that can only be obtained from animal products. In all likelihood, she would also be lacking needed calcium, zinc, B-12 as well as other B vitamins, Vitamin K, the EPA and DHA fatty acids and the sulfur containing amino acids methionine and cysteine.
Although the human body is theoretically capable of converting beta carotene into true Vitamin A, children are not able to do so efficiently if at all. Sunlight could have provided Vitamin D but only if the family lived outdoors in the tropics and not in a northern clime like Scotland.

Daily Record:
Shock as vegan diet girl, 12, diagnosed with rickets - June 2008

A GIRL of 12 has RICKETS after being brought up on a strict vegan diet: The degenerative bone condition - caused by poor diet - has virtually disappeared in the UK in the past 60 years.
The youngster from Glasgow is being treated at the city's Yorkhill children's hospital. She is thought to have suffered a number of fractures, caused by a lack of vitamin D. Doctors are under pressure to report her parents to social workers for neglecting the child by denying her meat and dairy from birth.
Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium and is found in liver, oily fish and dairy produce.
In most cases, vegan parents will give their children vitamin and mineral supplements to avoid putting their child at risk. There are concerns that the child's parents put their own beliefs before the girl's welfare. The couple are well-known figures in the vegan community. Yorkhill's Dr Faisal Ahmed insisted it was important to highlight the dangers of a vegan diet to children.
He said: "Something like this needs publicity. But we shouldn't name and shame. Mum feels guilty about the whole thing and feels bad about it." Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS board refused to comment on the case while Glasgow City Council said the matter has not been reported to social workers.
Professor Tom Sanders, head of nutrition at King's College, London, warned: "Some vegan hard-liners think we're still monkeys and can live on fruit and nuts."

RICKETS is a disorder where the bones are bent and brittle. It is caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium and make bones rigid.


vegan family with stick-thin legs & rotten teeth Independent UK:
Holly Paige thought her family's food regime would boost their health - but stick-thin legs and rotten teeth made her think again

One morning over breakfast, Holly Paige looked at her daughter and realised things weren't right. Lizzie should have been flourishing. Instead, her cheeks were pinched, she was small for her age, and although she had skinny arms and legs, her belly was big and swollen. When Lizzie smiled, Paige suddenly noticed her upper front teeth were pitted with holes.
"I was absolutely horrified," recalls Paige.

At the time, Paige was feeding them what she thought was the most nutritious diet possible. They had been raw vegans for three years, and ate plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, soya and pulses, but no meat, fish or dairy. According to the raw-food doctrine, Lizzie and Bertie, then three and four-and-a-half, should have been brimming with good health. But Paige's mothering instinct was on the alert.
"I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't put a finger on it," says Paige, 45. "They were two sizes behind in clothes. Of course, children come in all different shapes and sizes, but their growth seemed to be slowing further. I have two older children so I had their development to measure Lizzie and Bertie's against."

There were other oddities: "I remember going to the supermarket and buying butter for my older children. Lizzie, who had never had butter in her life, would grab the packet and gnaw into it," says Paige. "It was really disconcerting. I would be thinking, 'What is going on? Here is this purely fed child why would she need to do this?' I was so brainwashed into thinking dairy products are bad for you."
When she took Lizzie and Bertie to her health visitor, she didn't seem too concerned. "She said they were in the low percentile, but thought they were OK," says Paige. "Yet I knew the children weren't growing. I could sense that there was something wrong. It felt wrong."
Finally, Paige stumbled across the answer in an old vitamin book. Although she has no medical confirmation, she believes the family had symptoms of vitamin D- and protein-deficiency. "I felt like such an idiot. I got the information from a book I'd had sitting around on my shelf for 20 years."

The discovery brought a swift end to her experience of veganism. In Totnes, where she lives, Paige knows many other raw vegans who have a nature-loving lifestyle. But despite taking a daily supplement that included vitamin D and B12, she and the children were suffering. Today, the family still mainly has a raw diet, but Paige includes butter, cheese, eggs and occasionally fish. "I had let malnutrition in through the back door in the name of health," says Paige. "It was ridiculous."
There is a significant difference between being vegan (and eating cooked foods) and raw vegan. Vegans benefit from fortified cereals, baked goods and a wider variety of grains and pulses; what's more, cooking aids the absorption of some micronutrients. But Lisa Miles, from the British Nutrition Foundation, says: "The most dramatic change to the diet is being vegan rather than the raw element, because you are cutting out two huge food groups. This affects vitamin D and protein."
Last week, strict diets for children were questioned after a 12-year-old vegan girl was admitted to a Scottish hospital with rickets. Her spine was said to resemble that of an 80-year-old woman.
Rickets is a degenerative bone condition that can lead to curvature of the spine and bone fractures. It is caused by a lack of vitamin D, usually found in oily fish, eggs, butter and made by our bodies from sunshine although in the UK the sun is only strong enough to do this between April and September. It's a disease you might more commonly associate with the Dickensian character, Tiny Tim.

Many dieticians believe it is possible to bring up a healthy vegan child. "You can do it, but you do have to make sure you know what you are doing, especially in regards to weight," says Jackie Lowdon from the British Dietician Association. "As with any self-restricting diet, you need to get proper professional advice."
The Vegan Society, unsurprisingly, claim that the diet is suitable for all stages of life, and have an army of strapping, healthy adults brought up as vegans from birth who are happy to talk to the media. They also publish a book with dietary advice on feeding vegan children, written by dietician Sandra Hood. A spokeswoman, however, says they would not recommend a raw vegan diet for children.

Nigel Denby, a dietician and author of Nutrition for Dummies, says: "It can be hard enough bringing a child up to eat healthily, but with a vegan diet you are really making a difficult job for yourself. It is absolutely not something that should be tried without support from a dietician."
Several factors, says Denby, make a vegan diet for small children more difficult. With a restricted range of foods, if children turn their nose up at one particular food, you could be stuck for choice. "With smaller appetites and portion sizes, children under five have higher nutrient requirements than adults. Therefore, every mealtime has to be an opportunity to feed them high-nutrient-based foods."
Care must be taken with certain nutrients. "Haeme iron, found in meat, is easier for the body to absorb," explains Denby. "Non-haeme iron, which is just as good, is found in leafy vegetables and fortified cereals, but you have to eat a greater amount to get the same amount of iron."
Paige now believes that her children were craving dairy products. "It was confusing because for the first year I felt good, calm and content, and had plenty of energy. The children didn't have childhood sicknesses. But something seemed to be missing. We were always picking between meals, always obsessed by food."

Paige believes long-term breastfeeding helped sustain Lizzie and Bertie, but the toll of veganism on her own health was dramatic: "It was the third year when my body started disintegrating, frighteningly fast. I was getting thin, losing muscle and I was going to bed at half nine." She would also have "mad" binges, and eat nothing but rice cakes and butter.

The last straw came when Paige's eldest son Bruce came to stay. He asked her to buy chicken, and Paige ended up eating half of it. After that, she couldn't stop. "I just went wild. Typically, in a day I would eat half a chicken, two litres of milk, half a pound of cheese and three eggs. I just had to do it. It went on for weeks. The children were having lots of boiled eggs and cheese."
Paige, who now runs an online magazine and raw food shop, says her biggest lesson is never to be too restrictive again. "For a lot of people, there is something about these various nutrients in the animal form that we can assimilate. I don't know why, but experience shows a lot of us can't get enough protein on a vegan diet."

Now when Paige looks at her two youngest, now seven and eight she is certain they are thriving. "There was a moment when I was worried damage had been done for life," she says. "Now, I'm confident they are doing well. Even though they eat as much fruit and dried fruit as before, their teeth haven't had one bit more decay."
And nowadays, it's their growth that's the big talking point. "The first thing anyone says when they visit is: 'My, haven't they grown?'"

Nutrients that everyone needs
Because this vitamin is mainly found in meat, dairy products and eggs, vegans must get it from other sources such as supplements, fortified breakfast cereals and Marmite. Deficiency can lead to irreversible nervous system damage.
Vitamin D
Our skins make vitamin D when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. But with desk-bound jobs, long winters and unpredictable weather, it is not always possible to get enough. Vitamin D is crucial for bone growth in children, and deficiency can result in rickets. Oily fish is one of the best dietary sources, but vegans can obtain it from fortified breakfast cereals and margarine. People living in Scotland may need to take greater care over vitamin D, as may people from cultures that require them to cover up. Calcium
Found in dairy products, this is essential for strong bones. It is often lacking in a vegan diet unless taken as supplement.
Without sufficient iron, vegans and vegetarians can become anaemic. Deficiency can also delay growth in toddlers. Iron is commonly found in meat, but vegetarians can source iron from pulses and leafy green vegetables.
Although childhood obesity is an issue today, not enough calories can mean children don't grow properly. This can be a problem in high-fibre diets.
High-biological-value protein is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Low-biological-value protein is found in nuts, pulses and wholegrains. Separately, the latter don't contain all the essential amino acids, but do when combined correctly. Knowledge of which foods to mix together is therefore crucial.


Italian court tells veggie mum: feed your son meat

The court ruled that the mother must feed her son meat at least once a week.
28 May 2015

An Italian court has ordered a vegetarian mother to cook meat for her son at least once a week after the boy's father complained that his son wasn't being given a proper diet.
The mother in Bergamo, northern Italy, started her son on a macrobiotic diet, which is typically a vegetarian diet consisting of whole grains, cereals and vegetables, in 2006.
But the father, who is divorced from the mother, complained that she had made the decision without consulting him and that the diet put his son's health at risk, the Eco di Bergamo reported.
Despite the mother's dietary regime, the father took his son out for meals at McDonalds and prepared desserts, meat and dairy dishes on weekends, when he had custody of the child.
The father's mother, the boy's grandmother, also fed him foods which broke the diet, including gorgonzola and sausages. According to the child's mother, the boy would come home after the weekend with a stomach ache. The father eventually took the matter to court so that the boy's diet could be decided once and for all.
In mid-April an Italian court ruled that the mother must prepare meat at least once a week for her child. The father, meanwhile, was ordered not to feed the boy meat more than twice at weekends.


Parents who feed children vegan diet face prosecution under proposed Italian law

Italian MP Elvira Savino wants parents who feed their children 'inadequate diets' to be prosecuted.

10 August 2016, The Guardian

Centre-right MP says she wants law aimed at protecting children from diets that can leave them lacking in iron and other vitamins
An Italian politician is calling for laws that would see parents prosecuted for imposing vegan diets and other reckless and dangerous eating behavour on their children.
Elvira Savino, the deputy of the centre-right Forza Italia party, has proposed legislation that would see parents who give their children aged 16 and under an "inadequate" diet sentenced to up to six years in prison.
Known as the "Savino law", it aims to "stigmatise the reckless and dangerous eating behaviour imposed by parents ... to the detriment of minors", reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica. It encompassed vegan diets those without meat, eggs, dairy or animal products of any kind which Savino said can leave children lacking in the iron, zinc, B12 and other vitamins necessary for their development. Savino, who worked in public relations before being elected a parliamentarian in 2008, wrote in the introduction to the law that the belief that "a vegetarian diet, even in the rigid form of a vegan diet, results in significant health benefits" was becoming more widespread in Italy.
There is no objection if the person making this choice is an informed adult. A problem arises when children are involved. To counteract ideological excesses linked to diet, she proposed a one-year prison sentence for the basic offence, extended if the child is aged under three. The suggested penalty for parents whose children became sick or injured as a result of malnutrition ranged from two years and six months to four years, and four to six years if death resulted.

An Italian lawmaker wants to make it a crime for parents to feed their kids vegan diets
It may soon become a crime for Italian parents to keep their children from indulging in the country's legendary meats and cheeses by restricting them to vegan options.
An Italian lawmaker proposed a bill last week that would punish parents with imprisonment for raising their children on "dangerous" vegan diets, which the legislation compares to domestic abuse.
"I have nothing against vegans or veganism as long as it is a free choice by adults," the lawmaker, Elvira Savino of the conservative Forza Italia party, told Reuters Wednesday. "I just find it absurd that some parents are allowed to impose their will on children in an almost fanatical, religious way, often without proper scientific knowledge or medical consultation." Offending parents could be sentenced to at least a year-long stint in jail for restricting their children to a vegan diet, according to the BBC. If the child becomes sick or injured because of the diet the sentence rises to four years and again to six years if the child dies.
The legislation contends that many parents don't know how to add nutritional supplements to their child's vegan diet because they never consult medical professionals. Vegans don't eat animal products, including dairy, eggs, meat, fish, honey and animal fats. "These children are literally underfed, put in mortal danger from unwary parents who have decided to follow a philosophical movement," the proposed law, in Italian, reads. ... The proposed law comes after multiple Italian infants were hospitalized for undernourishment after reportedly being fed vegan diets. In July a malnourished baby was hospitalized because his parents kept him on a vegan diet without any nutritional supplements. At 14 months old, the baby weighed only slightly more than a 3-month-old should. The baby was removed from the parents' custody. A month earlier, a 2-year-old girl on a vegan diet spent several days in intensive care for vitamin deficiencies and low hemoglobin levels. In 2015, an 11-month-old with vegan parents was also treated for severe malnutrition. If enacted, the legislation wouldn't be the first time the Italian government has stepped into its people's kitchens. Last year, an Italian court ordered a vegan woman to feed her son meat at least once a week after her divorced husband complained he wasn't getting enough nourishment, according to the Local. Earlier in 2015 a father was sentenced to nine months in prison after forcing his teen daughters to maintain a strict diet of whole grains, cereals and vegetables because he thought they were too fat. Savino's proposal will be discussed by parliamentary committees before it is debated in Italy's lower chamber later in the year, according to the BBC. Simultaneously, other Italian lawmakers have proposed laws that would make vegan and vegetarian options more common in the country's eateries.

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Older children damaged by veganism:

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