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We have a related question of a more general nature, but there has been a lot of talk in Italy on whether to disallow or otherwise restrict vegan diets to people who are below a certain age.

This has been prompted by multiple cases of babies and toddlers risking death due to malnutrition after their parents adopted a vegan diet for them.

On one side, there are many people who say it's essentially safe or healthy; on the other people that say that a vegan diet for babies and infants requires constant supervision of a pediatrician.

What is the current scientific consensus on the risks and benefits of administering a vegan diet to the very young?

An example of the claim that it is harmful from the links:

Ed è a causa di un’alimentazione sbilanciata che in questi giorni è ricoverata all’ospedale Gaslini di Genova la piccola Chiara di nemmeno 3 anni, giunta in uno stato di salute talmente grave da richiedere subito la rianimazione.

I medici hanno collegato tutto questo alla dieta vegana che la bambina seguiva dalla nascita.

Baby Chiara, not even 3 years old, has been hospitalized for a few days because of an unbalanced diet. She was in such a bad state to require emergency reanimation. The physicians connected all this to the vegan diet that the child followed since birth

An example of the claim that it is healthy:

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Sklivvz Aug 12 '16 at 20:52
  • Sorry, but I'm too lazy to make this into a proper answer, if someone want to...no offence taken. There are thousands of sites reporting numbers and studies about the RDA of every nutritional element by age range. Adult RDAs are generally higher than those of babies and toddlers (lol...what a surprise :-D), so if an adult can survive being vegan, a toddler can too. Example: healthsupplementsnutritionalguide.com/… – motoDrizzt Aug 15 '16 at 9:33
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    @motoDrizzt with all due respect, you haven't understood the question at all :-) – Sklivvz Aug 15 '16 at 9:54
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    I think you should rephrase this question - as it is posed now, the answer clearly is "It depends.". You already added you want to exclude those who do it with medical help. So it seems you are more after a demographical analysis than after a theoretical "is it possible?". So should those count where the parents themselves have deficiencies? Shouldn't you also get some numbers for the rest of the population? Maybe also check some other groups, see how the differences based on education or wealth compare to the differences between vegan/omnivore? Where is the yes/no line? Is there even one? – Nobody Aug 15 '16 at 20:01
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    @Sklivvz Yes, but that's just the absolute basis of the study. On top of that, there are many many ways to understand your question, some of which I mentioned in my comment. You can easily answer the question as you posed it in a way which skews towards veganism or in the other way, and based on your current wording those might still be proper, defendable answers even though skewed. – Nobody Aug 15 '16 at 20:40

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