When our kids need a nutrient top-up
Most children, given a choice about what we put on their plates, wouldn’t choose broccoli and cauliflower over cupcakes and candy. Though we try to feed them all the right things, children can be picky eaters.
It makes sense, then, to add a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to their routine. But the choices can be confusing , and getting children to take a supplement may be a challenge. Here is some information to help you make the right choice.
Children are not mini adults
Children’s and adults’ needs differ. In children, needs focus on laying the foundation for strong bones and teeth, building a healthy immune system, and preparing for puberty. Think of childhood as the investment years to not only ensure good health, but also set the stage for preventing disease in the adult years.
Because children have smaller livers than adults, they have reduced ability to process vitamins and minerals. For safe, long-term use, children’s vitamins and minerals should be in lower doses than for adults.
Key nutrients for growth
Our children only have one chance to grow, so key nutrients are needed for optimum results.
• Calcium is required for developing strong bones – 90 percent of bone mass is laid down by age 17. Not only are many children not getting enough calcium – only 19 percent of girls and 52 percent of boys – but they’re not getting enough of other critical co-factors, such as vitamin D, in their diet for bone growth.
• Vitamin A assists in protein synthesis, helps bone cells mature , and helps lay down the enamel layer in teeth.
• Mixed Carotenoids are potent antioxidants that support the immune system, maintain skin and eye function, and help with the growth and repair of tissue.
• B Vitamins help the body with energy production, brain and nervous system function , and stimulate a good appetite. Children are often deficient because the main sources are vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
What children are not eating
A study by the US Department of Agriculture
found that on any given day
• percent of children don’t eat fruit
• percent don’t eat broccoli or cauliflower
• 72 percent don’t eat vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables
• 80 percent don’t eat vitamin A-rich fruits or vegetables