A 10-yr-old vegetarian eats only whole grains, no nuts, legumes, seeds. What is this diet deficient in and what repercussions will occur?

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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This child will have a number of deficiencies if the diet is not supplemented. All of them are considered serious in a child of that age.

Vitamin B12 is only found in foods from animal sources, and is necessary for the development of red blood cells, and also for nervous system development and function. This child is at risk of anemia and developmental delays. Lethargy would be an early symptom.This child is also getting very little iron and zinc. These deficiencies will also manifest as lack of energy in the early stages.

This child is at risk of rickets, a bone deformity caused by low calcium intake. in children of this age group, rickets generally manifests as bowing or poor development of the long bones of the leg.

The child could also suffer from kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency disease that causes growth failure and can ultimately lead to death. A symptom of this would be edema, particularly manifesting as a swollen belly from fluid accumulation in the abdomen. This diet is also extremely low fat; a growing child needs fat both for nervous system development and for sheer calories.

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