Too many kids not taking vitamins

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: March 12th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

In a nation where half of all adults pop dietary supplements, only about a third of U-S kids take supplementary vitamins and minerals, according to a recent study.

The results surprised even the researchers from the National Institutes of Health who reported these findings in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Their study… based on a three-year survey of more than ten-thousand children… showed that only a third of those eighteen and younger took a dietary supplement in the past month.

Eighteen percent of the children took multivitamins and multiminerals… the most common supplements. In contrast, thirty percent of adults took multivitamin-multimineral combinations.

For kids, age mattered. Almost half of the study’s elementary-schoolers and half the toddlers took vitamins. But only twelve percent of infants… younger than a year… took them. This concerned the researchers, especially because the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends vitamin D for infants who are breast-fed.

The children who took supplements had different lifestyles, too. They spent less time watching T-V and playing video games, they were more likely to be thinner, and they came from higher-income families.

Still, the best source of nutrition for children of all ages is a proper diet that includes all food groups. Even though vitamins can enhance nutrition, researchers say they can’t make up for a poor diet.

So, always consult your child’s doctor before giving your child vitamins. And, remember, even though over-the-counter supplements are generally safe, they’re still drugs and can be toxic.