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1 in 200 Kids is Vegetarian

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

A new study that provides the government’s first estimate of how many American children are vegetarian shows that approximately 367,000 children, or 1 in 200 avoid meat when eating.

Other surveys suggest the rate could be four to six times that among older teens who have more control over their eating habits than younger children.

The new estimate comes from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of alternative medicine based on a survey of thousands of Americans in 2007.

According to previous studies, vegetarians are most often female, from higher-income families and living on the East or West coasts.

Eating vegetarian can be healthy. Nutritionists and pediatricians often push children to eat more fruits and vegetables. For growing children, however, it’s important to get sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium and other important nutrients that most people get from meat, eggs and dairy.

Experts do point out that not all vegetarian diets are slimming. Some vegetarian kids cut out meat but then fill up on doughnuts, French fries, soda or potato chips.

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