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Nutrient Intake and Status of German Children and Adolescents Consuming Vegetarian, Vegan or Omnivore Diets: Results of the VeChi Youth Study

1
Department of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Nutritional and Food Science, University of Bonn, 44225 Dortmund, Germany
2
Faculty of Human Resources, Health & Social Work, University of Applied Sciences (FHM), 33602 Bielefeld, Germany
3
Research Institute of Plant-Based Nutrition, 35444 Gießen/Biebertal, Germany
4
Faculty of Health, Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, Witten Herdecke University, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
5
Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany
6
Medical Laboratory Bremen GmbH, 28359 Bremen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Winston Craig
Nutrients 2021, 13(5), 1707; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051707
Received: 22 April 2021 / Revised: 12 May 2021 / Accepted: 14 May 2021 / Published: 18 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Pediatric Nutrition)
There is a lack of data on associations between modern vegetarian and vegan diets and health among children and adolescents. The aim of the Vechi Youth Study was to cross-sectionally examine anthropometry, dietary intakes and nutritional status in a sample of 149 vegetarian, 115 vegan and 137 omnivore children and adolescents (6–18 years old, mean age: 12.7 ± 3.9 years). Group differences of dietary intake (calculated from three-day dietary records), nutrient biomarker and blood lipid concentrations were assessed using an analysis of covariance, adjusted for sex, age and other covariates. The total energy intake did not differ significantly between groups, but intake of carbohydrates was higher among vegetarians and vegans than among omnivores (p = 0.0002, respectively). The median protein intake exceeded 0.9 g/kg body weight/day in all diet groups and was lowest among vegetarians (p < 0.02). There was no significant difference of haemoglobin, vitamin B2, 25-OH vitamin D3, HDL-C and triglycerides blood concentrations between diet groups. Vegan participants had higher folate concentrations than vegetarian participants (p = 0.0053). Ferritin concentration was significantly higher in omnivores than in vegetarians (p = 0.0134) and vegans (p = 0.0404). Vegetarians had lower concentrations of holotranscobalamin (p = 0.0042) and higher concentrations of methylmalonic acid (p = 0.0253) than omnivores. Vegans had the lowest non-HDL-C and LDL-C concentrations in comparison to vegetarians (p = 0.0053 and p = 0.0041) and omnivores (p = 0.0010 and p = 0.0010). A high prevalence (>30%) of 25-OH vitamin D3 and vitamin B2 concentrations below reference values were found irrespective of the diet group. In conclusion, the Vechi Youth Study did not indicate specific nutritional risks among vegetarian and vegan children and adolescents compared to omnivores. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetarian diet; vegan diet; children; adolescents; nutrient status; biomarker; blood lipids; dietary intake vegetarian diet; vegan diet; children; adolescents; nutrient status; biomarker; blood lipids; dietary intake
MDPI and ACS Style

Alexy, U.; Fischer, M.; Weder, S.; Längler, A.; Michalsen, A.; Sputtek, A.; Keller, M. Nutrient Intake and Status of German Children and Adolescents Consuming Vegetarian, Vegan or Omnivore Diets: Results of the VeChi Youth Study. Nutrients 2021, 13, 1707. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051707

AMA Style

Alexy U, Fischer M, Weder S, Längler A, Michalsen A, Sputtek A, Keller M. Nutrient Intake and Status of German Children and Adolescents Consuming Vegetarian, Vegan or Omnivore Diets: Results of the VeChi Youth Study. Nutrients. 2021; 13(5):1707. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051707

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alexy, Ute, Morwenna Fischer, Stine Weder, Alfred Längler, Andreas Michalsen, Andreas Sputtek, and Markus Keller. 2021. "Nutrient Intake and Status of German Children and Adolescents Consuming Vegetarian, Vegan or Omnivore Diets: Results of the VeChi Youth Study" Nutrients 13, no. 5: 1707. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051707

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