Doctors don’t recommend vegan diets for children under 5

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania woman has been charged with endangering her 11-month-old son by restricting him to a vegan diet of fruits and nuts.

State police say 30-year-old Elizabeth Hawk, of Farmington, became “obsessed” with the vegan diet. Doctors said the child is developmentally disabled and can’t crawl because he’s malnourished.

What do parents need to know if they want their child to thrive on a plant-based diet? Doctors at Holy Spirit – A Geisinger Affiliate don’t recommend starting a vegan diet until after the age of five.

Dr. Fadi Zakko says if the child doesn’t get introduced to meat, dairy, and vegetables between six months and a year old, it could lead to developmental delays and cause more harm down the road.

“Allergic diseases like asthma, if you give them foods early in life, a small amount can help prevent diseases later in life,” Zakko said.

Doctors say you should consult with them before restricting your child’s diet to vegan or vegetarian.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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