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Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 May; 37(5): 815-27.

Growth in "new" vegetarian preschool children using the Jenss-Bayley curve fitting technique.

Dwyer JT, Andrew EM, Berkey C, Valadian I, Reed RB.

Length and weight measurements obtained on 142 vegetarian and 229 nonvegetarian school children from a normative population were fitted to growth curves using the asymptotic nonlinear regression equation of Jenss and Bayley. All of the children were Caucasian and age ranged from a few weeks to 6 yr. The growth curves obtained for vegetarian children were from 0.5 to 1.0 kg and 1 to 2 cm lower, depending on age, sex, and diet, than were curves for reference populations of nonvegetarian children. Length was affected more than weight. Macrobiotic vegetarian children's curves were more depressed than those of the other vegetarian children, indicating that there was a good deal of heterogeneity in growth within vegetarians which was associated with dietary group characteristics. Measurements of females were more consistently affected than males, and their diets were also more far reaching with respect to animal food avoidances. The analysis of food records available provided evidence that energy intakes of the vegetarians were below recommended levels, whereas protein intakes did not appear to be limiting.

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