Perhaps the most esteemed pediatrician of all time, Dr. Spock, recommended that children should be fed a vegetarian diet. Children do not have the stomach capacity, however, to thrive easily on a raw food diet. Vegan and vegetarian kids have been found to have higher IQs. Unfortunately, most doctors are not adequately educated about nutrition to be capable of giving worthy advice on it to parents. And parents have been found to overestimate the quality of their child’s diet. One third of preschoolers are now constipated due to a lack of unrefined plant food consumption. Only 1 in 500 kids eats the equivalent of a single leaf of Romaine lettuce a day; the remaining 499 do not meet an even pitifully low goal for daily vegetable consumption. Apple juice is the number one source of fruit for toddlers in America, but nonorganic apple juice has been found to exceed fungal toxin safety levels. Children, infants, and fetuses are more susceptible to mercury poisoning from fish, and potential damage may include: microcephaly (brain shrinkage), delayed development, delayed cognition, and gross neurological disorders (see also here, here, here, here, here). Domoic acid, found extremely rarely in seafood, causes a certain type of amnesia and crosses the placenta, posing a substantial risk to infants and children. Processed meat, containing nitrites that can form carcinogenic nitrosamines, appears to increase the risk of childhood leukemia in children who eat it (see also here, here). A drug derived from periwinkle is used to treat childhood leukemia. Mothers who eat hot dogs during pregnancy appear to risk having children with brain tumors. Pregnant women who eat meat appear to have sons with decreased fertility. And toxoplasma parasites in meat can seriously adversely affect the developing brains of human fetuses. Kids born to moms who ate a lot of licorice when pregnant could suffer from diminished speech, visual, and memory skills. Ideally, infants under 3 months of age should only be fed breast milk and avoid eating foods such as beets. Breast-feeding mothers who took DHA supplements had children with better vision and higher IQs. Persistent organic pollutants are found at high levels in the breast milk of omnivores, as well as animal fat. But while they don’t have to worry as much about persistent organic pollutants, nursing vegan mothers should take a vitamin B-12 supplement and get tested for a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Giving probiotics to kids reduces how often they get sick. Coconut oil emulsion shampoo is more effective for head lice treatment than the leading insecticide treatment. Soy can help prevent early onset puberty in girls, which increases the risk for breast cancer. Kids who eat animal-based protein and drink cow’s milk begin puberty, on average, a year earlier (see also here). Other potential dangers to children include: school lunch meat treated with ammonia (otherwise known as pink slime), aluminum (found in cheese), arsenic (found in chicken), cell phone use (increases the odds of getting a brain tumor), artificial food colors (increases impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity), pesticides such as DDT, placing children in shopping carts with raw meat, scented household products, Middle-Eastern teething powders, and lead sulfides burned to calm infants. During pregnancy as well as after birth, cutting down on meat consumption may reduce the risk of allergies in kids (see also here). Childhood asthma seems to be most influenced by meat intake and living with a smoker.
Topic summary contributed by Sue.