Kids’ Supplements – What Supplements Should I Give My Child?
courtesy of maxliving.com
Why Kids’ Supplements Are Critical
Even with the healthiest diet, children and adolescents might not get optimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other critical nutrients.
Research shows that kids often fail to get the recommended intakes of minerals including iron, zinc, and magnesium. Other studies show a low intake of vitamins A, C, and E among children, while adolescents are notably low in the mineral magnesium.
Those nutrient deficiencies present several challenges for children:
Optimal nutrition can help prevent disease development, especially to protect against chronic diseases. Learning healthy habits — including getting the right nutrients — help children develop healthy habits they can carry into adulthood. Nutrients play critical roles in a child’s growth and development. Adolescents develop about 40 percent of total bone mass, for instance, within a three-to-five-year window. Getting sufficient nutrients during that period — including vitamin D3 and calcium — determines their bone mass as adults, which could predict fracture risk later in life.
Unhealthy Eating Habits and Nutrient Deficiencies
Even with the healthiest diet, children might not get sufficient nutrients.
Among those reasons: Fruits and vegetables are less nutritious these days because of the nutrient-depleted soil they grow in. Most children also don’t eat organic produce, which tends to be higher overall in nutrients.
But many children aren’t always eating a healthy diet. Consider vegetables: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found the intake of healthy foods such as dark green vegetables was very low.
Most of the vegetables that children do eat come from poor sources, such as fried potatoes or chips.
Fruit, which is sweeter and hence more palatable among children, provides an array of nutrients. But even that becomes a problem: Many children — especially younger ones — consume mostly juice rather than whole fruit. Processed juices are stripped of dietary fiber and some nutrients, essentially creating sugar water.
Poor School Lunches
We also live in a culture that doesn’t always foster good nutrition. Many schools, for instance, provide unhealthy foods for kids. These foods are less expensive and last longer than more nutrient-dense foods that have short sell-by dates.
About 50 percent of American schoolchildren participate in the National School Lunch Program. This program complies with the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for specific nutrients.
However, researchers measured the intake of these nutrients among children and found many weren’t always meeting those recommended amounts. One nutrient that children get morethan enough of is sodium, prevalent in processed foods and table salt.
That’s because burgers, fried potatoes, and pizza with meat are popular food choices in many school lunchrooms. Some schools also provide access to competitive food sources including vending machines that overall contribute to poor diet quality.
But the largest contributor to children’s intake of added sugars — a whopping 45 percent of the total amount, in fact — comes from regular soda and sweetened drinks. Among their problems, carbonated sodas can leech nutrients from a child’s growing body.
To be fair, schools aren’t the only environment that influences children’s eating decisions.
At the same time, we have an opportunity to create healthy habits for children through family, school, community, and other environments. These habits require consistent, continuing, and age-appropriate strategies that children c