AAP: Introduce Red Meat at 6 Months?
According to the article Guidelines for Introducing Foods to Infants Being Developed, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discussed the idea of promoting red meat as the best first food to introduce to infants on October 17 at their AAP ConvergeNCE conference.
The write-up says that Frank R. Greer, MD, FAAP would talk about guidelines for feeding infants that are under development, and was going to address the idea that “Red meat is the nutrient-rich food that biologically may be best as the first complementary feeding for infants.”
I don’t know that this is a huge emergency as vegetarian and vegan parents can opt to ignore the guidelines (if they even find out about them). However, it does seem to be a step in the wrong direction in terms of the evolution of human nutrition and I thought it would be good to write the AAP a letter about it:
Dear American Academy of Pediatrics:
As a registered dietitian and animal protection advocate, I was disappointed to see that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) may be developing guidelines for feeding infants that recommend red meat as the best solid food with which to start infants (link).
I am concerned that this will frighten vegan and vegetarian parents into unnecessarily compromising their ethical values because they fear that they will harm their babies if they do not feed them meat.
And with the current epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, starting infants on red meat could lead to poor eating habits later on. A 2011 prospective study has shown vegans to have a 60% reduced risk, and lacto-ovo vegetarians to have a 40% reduced risk, of diabetes as compared to meat-eaters:
It would be best to start a new generation of Americans off with plant-based eating patterns rather than with meat-based, and I urge you not to give in to pressures from meat industry sources to promote red meat as a required, or even desirable, food for infants.
Jack Norris, RD
President, Vegan Outreach
It might be good for others, especially health professionals, to write polite letters to the AAP expressing concerns about such guidelines and to ask them to consider a plant-based point of view.
You can contact them here.