Parents Mostly Prefer Dietary Supplements for Nutrition

On the contrary, unhealthy foods can negatively affect the short and long-term health outcomes of children as well as their performance in school.

Kids can be stubborn when it comes to eating healthy foods on their plates. And many parents are still struggling to make their children eat healthy foods.

About a third of parents say their child is a picky eater and a third don’t think they eat enough fruits and vegetables. Thirteen percent worried kids weren’t getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals while 9% said their child needed more fiber in their diet, according to the nationally representative report based on responses from 1,251 parents with at least one child ages 1 to 10.

Another potential barrier is cost. Half of the parents agreed that it was more expensive to provide their child with a healthy diet. This can make it especially frustrating for parents when children waste or refuse to eat healthy foods.

Most parents polled have given their child dietary supplements, with over three-fourths using multivitamins. Close to half had also provided kids with probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeast taken to help digestion by enhancing the number of good microbes in the gut.

More than a fifth have used Omega 3 supplements, fatty acids that support cell growth and brain development.

About a third of parents say their child has tried but does not take supplements regularly. Among parents who have given their child supplements, four in five say they chose products made specifically for children, but only about two in five say they discussed supplement use with their child’s health care provider.

Dietary supplements are often intended to enhance the amount of vitamins children consume through a regular diet. But parents may not always know whether their child is getting proper nutrition.

The use of dietary supplements in children is an important health decision to discuss with doctors, but less than half of parents who have given their child a supplement talked to their child’s health provider.

Parents in lower-income households were also less likely to talk about supplement use with their child’s health care provider, compared to higher-income parents, according to the report.

Providers should be diligent about discussing nutrition with families so they understand what a healthy diet should include and are using supplements appropriately.

In situations where families can’t afford to provide a healthy diet, providers may direct parents to social service programs that can help.

Since supplements are classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as food, they do not receive the same premarketing evaluation and review as medications.

To minimize the risks of supplement use, parents should share concerns about their child’s diet with a pediatrician who can help them identify the best strategies to improve the nutritional quality of their child’s diet and determine whether supplements are recommended.

Source: Medindia