|Plate of vegetables (illustration)|
(Scroll down for video) Lawmakers in Italy, are proposing stiff penalties to those parents who force their kids to be vegan after several children died due to malnutrition.
Elvira Savino of the Forza Italia party, is proposing legislation that would ban parents from placing their children on vegan or vegetarian diets.
Those parents who violate the law could face up to six years in prison. Savino said that vegan parents are imposing a diet devoid of essential elements for healthy and balanced growth in children.
The proposal comes after a series of cases in which malnourished children have ended up in the hospital. In the last 18 months, four malnourished children were hospitalized after being fed a vegetarian diet.
The American Dietetic Association writes that vegetarian diets are appropriate for children, but advise that care needs to be taken to ensure that children are getting the full range of necessary nutrients, especially vitamin B12.
Savino said that she has no objection to an adult making this choice. The problem arises when it comes to children. The vegetarian diet is deficient in zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.