Thursday, October 6, 2011

Does Your Child Need a Multivitamin?

Some people say that as long as a child eats a variety of foods, they don’t need a multivitamin.  But are you sure that you give your child enough Vitamin A, D, E, K, calcium, iron, B12, B6, riboflavin, ect daily?  Most healthcare workers say there is no harm in giving a child a children’s multivitamin.  Giving a child a children’s vitamin daily ensures they get all the vitamins and minerals their body needs to develop and grow.  If they already have enough of certain vitamins, the extra nutrients will just wash through their body and not be absorbed.  A children’s vitamin really doesn’t have much in it.  It’s very watered down.  As long as you use a good brand, I recommend a child taking a children’s vitamin once each day.  If you schedule is really busy, then giving it to them more days than not is good too.  It’s only beneficial.

When your child becomes an adolescent, it’s really important to give them a multivitamin.  The highest prevalence of nutritional deficiencies occurs during adolescence.  During this the teens, your child starts to make more food choices on their own.  They may decide what they eat at school and start getting their own snacks at home.  As your child learns to drive or gets very busy with after school sports practices or dance classes, it easier and easier to just pick fast food up instead of sitting down to a vegetable laden, nutritious and balanced family dinner. Studies have shown that the American adolescent consumes more than one third of their calories as fat, and most of those are saturated fat.  For the average adolescent, French fries make up a full fourth of the vegetables they consume.  It’s no wonder that adolescents are often deficient in calcium, iron, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamins A and C.  Above all, it’s very important to keep encouraging your adolescent to make healthy food choices.  Like with a children’s vitamin, make sure you pick a good brand of multivitamin because not all vitamins are made the same.  Having an adolescent take a multivitamin isn’t a substitute for healthy eating, but it helps ensure that that at least get some of the vitamins and minerals they need to keep going strong. 

Upcoming blog post: How to pick a great multivitamin  Also, send me your health questions that you want answered and hopefully we can make it happen!