From the Washington Post:
a small but growing number of children and adolescents are consciously opting for a vegetarian diet. Earlier this year, a nationwide survey of 1,258 8- to 18-year-olds found that 3 percent never eat meat, poultry or seafood, up from 1.4 percent in 1995. That’s an estimated 1.4 million young vegetarians today [...]
that two-thirds of these meatless kids are vegan
That’s about 924,000 vegan kids in the US!!!
Regarding nutrition and health, the article says:
Research on adult vegetarians suggests that a plant-based diet provides many ongoing health benefits, including a lower incidence of obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and possibly certain types of cancer. [...]
Experts agree that getting enough food overall is key. “In plant-based diets, which tend to be very high in fiber, children often get a sense of fullness before they really ingest enough calories as they need, or eat enough food to provide adequate energy,” says Sharma [a pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center], who recommends three meals and three snacks a day for his vegetarian patients, all filled with such energy-dense options as nuts, seeds and avocado, as well as such high-protein foods as tofu and other soy products, [and] beans
For cooking ideas to satisfy families with both vegans and nonvegans, take a look at the end of the article >>