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Vegans Diet: Case of Children Malnutrition

Esthetics and vanity have been playing a major role in the development of our societies in the late years. Therefore, numerous and brand new diets are invented almost daily in order to fulfill all the needs that people have. Diets have become a fashion, and within this fashion many groups have claimed the invention of diets that better the health state of human beings. Nevertheless, when taking any diet people must look for medical and professional supervision.


Probably one of the most popular diets that exist today is veganism.. It is based on the abstinence from the ingestion of any animal products or products which have been previously tested on animals. In this specific case veganism constitutes a drastic change in the  lifestyle. Followers from this diet have numerous reasons to have become vegetarians: health benefits, religious reasons, environmental concerns or to support animal rights.


The truth is that vegans exist all over the world and some of them can get to extremes. A great number of children with vegan parents have had no other choice than to grow up without the nutrients given by meat. There have been studies that show that when women avoid animal food their babies are born small with a slow growth process and retarded. In these cases, the damage to the child begins in the womb and evolves as he/she is growing up.


Vegan followers avoid milk, cheese and meat. They base their diet on vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts. Even though it may look nutritious and healthy, following this diet will lead to serious cases of malnutrition. Recently, the parents of a five-year old girl are facing first-degree assault charges for the seriousness of the malnourishment state that their child presents.


Joseph and Silva Swinton were strict followers of veganism. When they had their first child in July of 2000 they raised her under the same nutritional regimes. They fed her with herbal teas, fruit juices, soy drinks and flax seed oil instead of breast milk. Consequently the baby weighed only 10 pounds when she was 15 months. She had no teeth, a swollen abdomen and she was not able to sit or talk.


The baby was diagnosed with severe malnutrition and rickets. Doctors considered it a terrible case of neglect. Nevertheless, the parents claimed that they thought the diet was the best for the girl. Right now they are both on a trial that will lead them to 25 years in jail. This is a health catastrophe that reaches the level of a crime.


Christopher Shella, attorney of this couple, claims that both parents looked out for the girl in what they considered the best way. For Shella the Swintons are not criminals but human beings who unfortunately did not make the best choices. Still, the doctor who attended the girl when she was 15 months affirms that she looked like an abandoned newborn: her hair was matted and filthy and her fingernails were so dirty and long that they looked like ?claws?. Her arms and legs were bowed, her belly was distended and her skin was completely covered by a diaper rash.


It took nearly four months for the baby to rehabilitate from the state in which her parents had her. A doctor who is specialized in childhood malnutrition confirmed that the baby was ?at a critical risk of dying?. Nevertheless, the Swintons attorney claims the couple did not realized how dangerous the diet was. Meanwhile the husband is in jail waiting for a resolution while the wife is free on a $20,000 bail.

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Steven J. Williams, P.C.
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