Do Children Really Need a Multivitamin?
There have been many debates over the past few years regarding the use of multivitamins in children. The American Academy for Pediatrics claim it is not necessary because of the vitamins and minerals that are derived from eating a healthy, balanced diet. In a perfect world, this would ring true. However, many children today consume foods that are a far cry from being nutrient thick.
To understand the need for vitamins for our children, we need to first examine the quality of our food supplies. Because of modern intensive agricultural methods, our soil is being regularly stripped of vital minerals, consequently producing foods that are not as nutrient filled as the generation before it. This isn’t saying that the carrot you are eating today has no nutritional qualities. The nutrients are there, just in a reduced amount. A landmark study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition by a research team from the University of Texas that showed a decline in the nutrient content of 43 different vegetables from a period of 1950 to 1999. This study proved that because of the vigorous agricultural methods being practiced to increase produce size, pest resistance and growth rate, the foods produced were deficient in protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and vitamin C.
In addition to poor soil quality, the demands of today’s busy lifestyles are also to blame for nutrient deficient diets. It is sometimes faster and easier to throw together a cheese filled casserole or a plate of chicken nuggets with fries than it is to prepare a wholesome dish complete of lean meats and fresh vegetables. This issue has been escalating greatly over the past 10 years. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) produced a report based on the diet quality of children from ages 2 to 9 which shows a decline in the quality of diet over a period of several years. After the study, it was determined that most children of this age group had a diet which was rated as either ‘needing improvement’ or ‘poor’. It was also stated that while the diet of most children aged 2 to 9 needs substantial improvement just to meet minimum dietary recommendations, children from ages 7 to 9 had an already poorer diet than the younger age group.
It doesn’t appear that the agriculture industry will be changing their practices any time soon. It also doesn’t seem that parents’ schedules will be slowing down. So, how can you be sure your child is getting the minimum recommended daily value of meaningful vitamins and nutrients? By supplementing their diet with a good quality multivitamin. Two of the most popular types of vitamins for children on the market today come in the form of chewable gummies and gum balls. These types make the child feel more like he or she is getting a treat instead of a supplement.
In order to have a happy and healthy child, make sure they consume at the minimum 2 to 3 servings of fresh fruit and 3 servings of fresh vegetables per day and supplement with a good quality vitamin. Not only will this fuel their bodies for all of the activities that go along with being young, but will also teach them proper nutritional habits for the future.