Healthy Kids and Vitamins

I think it’s safe to say we all want to raise healthy kids. I talked about ways to do that a few months back including eating healthy, being active and taking liquid supplements for children. And while I still believe these are all important aspects to living a healthy life, today I want to focus on that last suggestion.

A study done in Jan 2012 was looking to see if “children use supplements to fill gaps in nutritionally inadequate diets or whether supplements contribute to already adequate or excessive micronutrient intakes from foods.” The part of the study that I found most interesting was that 21% of children under the age of 2 were using supplements, while 42% of children between the ages of 2-8 were also using them. So based on those numbers it seems to me that we, as parents, as trying to do all we can to ensure we’re raising healthy kids. We understand that our kids need to be getting certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients to be healthy and grow properly, so we’re giving them vitamins in the hopes that they are getting everything they need. However, based on my reading of this study, there’s more to fixing the problem than just a generic, same for everyone, multivitamin.

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So the study found that even the kids who were taking vitamins were still low on their Calcium and Vitamin D levels. The study also found that levels of some things were too high, such as iron, zinc, copper, selenium, folic acid, and vitamins A and C. This means that, for the most part, a standard multivitamin added to our kids’ diets doesn’t provide the correct balance of what they need. This is why it’s important to be actively aware of what’s going on with your kids. What are they eating? How do they spend their time? How are they feeling? These are all important aspects in the lives of healthy kids.

Now let me be clear, I am not saying we shouldn’t give our kids liquid vitamin supplements! They definitely have their place! I just think it’s important to know what you are giving your kids. Read the label and pay attention to what they are eating, and then consider the levels of vitamins between the two. If your kid is a great eater, getting lots of fruits, vegetables and other healthy, good stuff, they may not need a full multivitamin. You may want to consider some individual supplements for your kids, such as Vitamin D, Calcium, or whatever else they may be lacking. When in doubt, work with your kids’ doctor to make sure you’re making the best decisions for your kids and their health.

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