Vegetarian Eating for Children and Adolescents

Laurie Dunham, MS, RD, LD; Linda M. Kollar, RN, MSN


J Pediatr Health Care. 2006;20(1):27-34. 

In This Article

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found naturally in milk and dairy products. The body also can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Past research has shown that exposing one's hands and face to the sunlight two to three times each week for 20 to 30 minutes provides enough vitamin D for light-skinned children and adolescents in moderate climates (Messina & Burke, 1997; Messina & Mangels, 2001). The most recent literature recognizes that specific age groups require a vitamin D supplement: infants who are exclusively breastfed; infants drinking less than 500 mL of vitamin D–fortified milk each day; and children and adolescents who do not receive adequate sunlight exposure, are not drinking at least 500 mL of vitamin-D fortified milk each day, or do not take a multivitamin containing at least 200 IU of vitamin D (Gartner & Greer, 2003). Persons with dark skin or those living in a cloudy climate need more exposure. Vegetarians can choose vitamin D–fortified soy milk, cheese, yogurt, and cereals as dietary sources of this nutrient.


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