A proposal to ban vegetarianism and raw food diets for minors in Russia has been put forward by Irina Volynets, the children’s rights commissioner for the Republic of Tatarstan. Volynets argues that these diets can lead to serious illness and even death in children. She claims that vegetarianism and raw foodism often result in a deficiency of vital vitamins and minerals, including protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and iodine. This deficiency can lead to conditions such as anemia, impaired growth and development, neurasthenia, impaired motor skills, and thyroid hormone imbalance.
Volynets has submitted the proposal to the State Duma and the heads of the relevant committees. She emphasizes that the legislation is aimed at preventing harm to children. In recent years, Russia has seen cases of child deaths in families where parents followed unconventional diets. For example, in Krasnoyarsk, a two-year-old girl whose parents practiced raw foodism developed anemia and died due to a lack of medical care.
Another shocking case was the death of a one-month-old child in the southern Krasnodar Region. The child’s father, a vegan blogger, forbade his wife from breastfeeding the infant and instead ordered her to give him orange juice. The baby’s death was attributed to exhaustion and a lack of medical care.
Dr. Arseniy Martinchik, a nutrition specialist, agrees that the complete absence of animal protein in adults may not necessarily be harmful, but it can have detrimental effects on children. Elena Petryaikina, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Moscow City Health Department, also states that a vegetarian diet is unacceptable for children. She explains that supplemental vitamins cannot fully replace the nutrients obtained from food, and a lack of protein can affect the hormonal status, immunity, and growth of a child.
The proposal to ban vegetarianism and raw food diets for minors has sparked a debate in Russia. Some argue that it is important to respect parents’ freedom of choice in raising their children and that a balanced vegetarian diet can provide adequate nutrition. Others believe that the potential health risks outweigh any personal preferences and that the government should intervene to protect the well-being of children.
It remains to be seen whether the proposal will be approved and implemented as law. In the meantime, the issue of children’s nutrition and the potential dangers of restrictive diets will continue to be a topic of discussion in Russia and beyond.