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A well planned vegan diet is suitable for people of all ages.


American Dietetic Association

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. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.


A vegetarian or vegan diet can be suitable for everyone, regardless of their age.

British Dietetic Association.

Although often cropped to

[I]t is possible to follow a well-planned, plant-based, vegan friendly diet that supports healthy living in people of all ages, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The full quote is from a memorandum between the BDA and The Vegan Society as below

As a result of the memorandum the BDA and The Vegan Society will:
- Work together to show that it is possible to follow a well-planned, plant-based, vegan friendly diet that supports healthy living in people of all ages, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- British Dietetic Association

Their associated fact sheet talks about ‘Plant Based Diets’ which it defines as everything between pescetarianism to veganism.

A plant-based diet is based on foods derived from plants, […] with few or no animal products. […]
Well-planned plant-based diets can support healthy living at every age and life-stage.

As their statement refers to plant-based diets (where they mean merely primarily but not necessarily excusively plant-based) the BDA is not quite as quotable as other sources. Nonetheless it appears that they are committed to the idea that a well planned vegan diet is healthy.

World Health Organisation

For adults, protein from two or more plant groups daily is like to be adequate. For children, however, and especially those aged 6-24 months, each meal should contain wherever possible two complementary sources of plant protein.
Vegan diets (those with no source of animal proteins and especially no milk) may have serious adverse effects on infant development and should be discouraged.
WHO - Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children

WHO and UNICEF recommend:
- exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life; and
- introduction of nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
- WHO - Infant and young child feeding

Taking these two documents together it seems reasonable to conclude that the WHO endorses the healthfulness of a vegan diet provided the child is breastfed for the first six months.
It is important to remember when discussing this topic that it is not always possible to breastfeed your child and that compassion is critical when talking to vegans who have had to make difficult decisions regarding dietary choices for their infants and children.

Seeking Nutritional Advice

The operative words in most of the quotes above are ‘well-planned’. As with any diet, it is possible to become nutritionally deficient on a vegan diet if it’s not suitably varied, supplemented, or if there are additional health concerns.
If you have any questions about planning your diet, seek out the expertise of a registered dietician or appropriate health professional as licenced in your country.


Article Contributors

Sam Martin