Should I give my child some extra vitamins and minerals? Many parents ask this question.
On the one hand, it is said that a well-balanced diet provides the body with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, many studies suggest that children on supplements show better overall health. Adding to this confusion are advertisements of pharmaceutical companies, which are so presented that parents get convinced that vitamin supplements are essential for their children. However, experts opine that children can get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals through a healthy, balanced diet.
According to the article ‘Vitamin Supplements and Children’ in healthychildren.org, “For some youngsters, however, pediatricians may recommend a daily supplement. If your child has a poor appetite or erratic eating habits, or if she consumes a highly selective diet (such as a vegetarian diet containing no dairy products), a vitamin supplement should be considered.”
Parents must also know that multivitamins aren’t without risks. High doses of vitamins and minerals can be toxic. Also, some vitamins and minerals can interact with some of the medications a child may be taking.
Therefore, before you start your child on multivitamins, it is very important that you find out if your child needs vitamin supplements. Some children who need vitamin supplements are those who: do not eat a balanced diet, have health issues, are on medications, eat a lot of fast food, are involved in a lot of physical activities.
Mayoclinic.org says, “Talk with your child's doctor if you're concerned about whether your child is getting the recommended level of vitamins and minerals.”
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If your child has a poor appetite or erratic eating habits, or if she consumes a highly selective diet, a vitamin supplement should be considered.
Multivitamins aren't necessary for most healthy children who are growing normally. Foods are the best source of nutrients. Regular meals and snacks can provide all the nutrients most preschoolers need.
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Vitamin supplements can be a safe and important component of your child's daily nutritional routine. As with any drug, they have both risks and benefits.