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MACRONUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF DIETS IN VEGETARIAN CHILDREN


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Abstract

Background. The growing popularity of vegetarianism in the world also affects the growth of the number of families choosing this type of diet. Adherence to a vegetarian diet in children is a concern due to the high risks of macro- and micronutrient deficiencies. Increasing interest in vegetarian diets is also relevant for our country, but there is currently no data on the prevalence of vegetarianism among children in Russia. Materials and methods. We conducted a cross-sectional controlled study of indices of physical development, body component composition, and macronutrient composition of diets in vegetarian and non-vegetarian children. The physical development of vegetarian children was assessed using the «Anthro Plus», the macronutrient composition of diets was assessed using the special computer software, body composition was assessed using the bioelectrical impedance analysis. Results. 24% of vegetarian children had physical deviations: reduced body weight (6.3%), reduced body length (1.9%), mild malnutrition (13.3%), moderate malnutrition (1.3%), severe malnutrition (0.6%), overweight (5.1%). The assessment of the body composition showed statistically lower values of % ACM (p = 0.004) and phase angle (p = 0.005) in vegetarian children. 95% of the vegetarian children had an inadequate composition of the diet: both insufficient and excessive consumption of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Low consumption of all macronutrients was found in 15% of vegetarian children. Children who received a vegan diet consumed protein with food statistically significantly lower, compared with lacto-and lacto-ovo-vegetarians (p < 0.005), but statistically more often consumed a high level of carbohydrates. High fat intake was found in most vegetarian children, especially children under 12 years. Conclusion. The results of the study showed the need to raise awareness of vegetarian parents about the nutritional risks associated with a vegetarian diet, and to make an adequate diet for their children.


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