Vegan baby hospitalised in Italy found to be severely malnourished

Doctors are warning parents against raising children on the diet without additional supplementation

Vegan baby hospitalised in Italy found to be severely malnourished

Stock Image | Via: Nick Ansell / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A baby, who was being raised on a vegan diet, was hospitalised in Italy earlier this month suffering from severe malnutrition.

The child's grandparents took the infant to the hospital on July 2nd and doctors discovered that he weighed only slightly more than a 3-month-old, despite being 14 months.

Blood tests revealed the child had very low levels of calcium that doctors described as "the minimum needed to survive", according to The Local.

The infant was also found to be suffering from a heart condition which can be aggravated by low calcium levels and subsequently needed emergency surgery. The boy has since recovered.

While the vegan diet has a lot of health benefits for adults, doctors have warned that parents need to fully inform themselves before raising their children solely on the diet as additional supplementation may be required for growing bodies.

Luca Bernardo, who is the director of pediatrics at the hospital the boy was admitted to, told The Telegraph that the baby should have been given calcium and iron supplements to keep him healthy.

"It is not a problem to choose different or unusual kinds of nutrition and we certainly do not want to enter into a discussion of the merits of the decision," she added.

Concerned medical staff reported the incident to social services, after the parents refused to change the child's dietary habits, and he was taken into care.

This is the fourth case of a child on a vegan diet being hospitalised in Italy, according to the Local.