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30 Jun, 2016 17:13

Vegan toddler admitted to ICU for malnutrition, parents could face neglect charges

Vegan toddler admitted to ICU for malnutrition, parents could face neglect charges

Two Italian parents could face criminal charges after their daughter was found to be suffering from malnutrition - and their vegan diet is being blamed.

When the unnamed couple brought in their two-year-old child, identified only as ‘Chiara,’ to a pediatric hospital in Genoa for a check-up, she was immediately transferred to intensive care due to her serious condition.

Doctors found the little one to be underweight and suffering from a number of complications, including low levels of hemoglobin, poor responsiveness and slow movements, as well as a B12 deficiency, according to The Local.

READ MORE: No meat, we're British! Vegan population up 360% in 10 yrs

While doctors are investigating if there are any hereditary diseases that may have contributed to the child’s health problems, it’s thought the root cause is linked to the lack of animal products in her diet.

Of course, both parents are vegan as well, so no "spicy meatballs" or Parmesan cheese at the family dinner table.

The child was also breastfed while mama was eating vegan.

“The lack of B12 causes irreversible neurological damage,” pediatrician Alberto Ferrando told La Repubblica. “If action is taken fast to rebalance the conditions, the more chance you have of recovering the health of the child. Unfortunately, the damage is much greater in the youngest."

The young girl was removed from intensive care after seven days and is understood to be recovering in a convalescence ward.

While raising a child on a vegan diet isn’t regarded as mistreatment in Italy, social services have been notified of the child’s well-being and the parents could face charges of ‘neglect,’ with a case likely to appear before the Juvenile Court.

Police in Florence launched an investigation last July into vegan parents whose 11-month-old child had to be treated for severe malnutrition.

Also last year, a judge in Bergamo in northern Italy ordered a vegetarian mother to incorporate meat into her son’s diet after the boy’s father complained his son’s health was being put at risk.