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Children’s Nutritional Needs

Filed Under: Baby and Child Health at 1:14 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
School LunchIn a recent examination of 10,136 children, researchers found that only 32 percent were taking nutritional supplements. The number came as a surprise to some, as 50 percent of adults consume a vitamin or mineral, daily. What wasn’t a surprise, however, was that the children consuming supplements were, typically, thinner, spent a limited amount of time in front of the television or with video games and were from higher-income, non-smoking families. For the most part, they also took multivitamins or multi-minerals.  The findings, surprising or not, spawned a flurry of discussion. Should we be pleased that so few parents see the need to supplement nutrition or concerned that so many are ignoring deficiencies? And most importantly, are dietary supplements really beneficial to children?

The truth is no pill can compensate for a poor diet. A daily vitamin, taken with pounds of fried, sugary foods, will provide little benefit. The best way for children to attain optimal nutrition is through balanced consumption. However, full doses of some vitamins and minerals are more difficult to get, particularly because of children’s eating habits. Calcium, for example, is a mineral vital to healthy growth and development.  As children grow they need more and more to satisfy their body’s needs. But, the best sources of calcium, namely low-fat milk, are being shunned by kids. Very few American children drink the advised amount of milk each day, opting instead for high-fat dairy products with limited nutritional aid.  To compensate for this, a calcium supplement may be necessary. The same holds true for vitamin D, which is recommended in supplement form for breastfeeding babies. So, depending on what’s lacking in your child’s diet you may want to consider adding a vitamin to his/her morning meal, but be careful.

Not all vitamins are created equal. The lure of cartoon-shaped, gummy-textured vitamins can be hard to resist, but having an animated celebrity attached to the bottle doesn’t spell nutrition. In fact, if dentists are right, it could mean more health problems rather than fewer.

Don’t be conned by bright colors; be confident because of the labels. Know that you are supplying your child with the necessary nutrients. And as always, speak with your pediatrician first.

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Rainbow Light – Kid’s One MultiStars Multivitamin Fruit Punch – 30 Chewable Tablets
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