Although kids age 8 and below are regularly given a multivitamin, kids 9 and up aren’t. According to a new study, many children are likely to have Vitamin D deficiency as well as a deficiency in calcium. By the teenage years, when the body is undergoing rapid changes that require complete nutrition, more essential minerals as well as vitamins were found to be missing from teens’ diets.
The study was conducted using food diaries, and is thought to mostly reflect a change in diet and behavior in recent years. Kids are less likely to go outside, and junk foods are as prevalent as ever (not to mention school lunches, which have experienced a few years of steady bad press). Kids who were given a multivitamin were much more likely to have complete nutrition.
While going outside may help slow Vitamin D deficiency, it’s apparent that kids need to take a multivitamin throughout their many years of growing. Children who didn’t take any sort of supplement were also likely to be deficient in Vitamins K and E, as well as essential minerals.
One thing to note: many kids diets included an excess of iron. Previous studies have found that unless you have anemia (that can’t be corrected through diet) taking a supplement that includes iron may do more harm than good.
What are other ways to help kids get complete nutrition? A daily multivitamin is a good habit to start, but what other ways can they be taught about a balanced diet that supports complete nutrition?