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As parents we are bombarded with the dos and don’ts of what to feed and give to our children to aid in their growth, development and general health and well-being. There seems to be research results released every other week promoting benefits of a product/food/drink/vitamin/supplement or the dangers of another. Confusing? Absolutely! One area of particular confusion is that of vitamins marketed for children. Give or not to give? How often? How Much? And which ones to give? Truthfully, if your children have a healthy, balanced diet, then vitamins of supplements aren’t required or even particularly useful. Vitamins and supplements may only offer an expensive, false sense of security.

The reliance on vitamins
Giving children vitamins and supplements creates a reliance on those products when most children will actually get all the required essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals from a balanced diet. From the American Academy of Paediatrics ‘a diet based on the Food Guide Pyramid provides adequate amounts of all the vitamins’ that a child needs.

Sending the wrong message to children

Taking vitamins and supplements on a daily basis sends the wrong message to children – that they need to take pills or tablets every day to stay healthy and that is simply untrue.

If eating a balanced diet, vitamins not needed
‘Parents are increasingly seeing supplements as a form of protection, to cover all the bases in case the kids are not getting all they need from their diet,’ says Julie Gilbert of the Dieticians Association of Australia. ‘But if they have a normal wide variety of healthy foods in their diets, there is no reason to go and waste the extra money on vitamins… It’s also teaching children they need to take pills to be healthy.

Fear from parents
Every parent worries about their children and their health and marketers profiteer on this fear, however in most cases, for most children that partake in a healthy and balanced diet, this fear is unfounded. Parents should only consider vitamins and supplements for children who are very picky eaters, have asthma or other medical conditions that may affect their absorption of nutrients from fresh food, or if children adhere to a vegetarian diet, and then only in conjunction with medical advice.
Creating bad habits from an early age and turning vitamins into lollies

Some products on the market today, such as Nature’s Own Vita Gummies, pose the danger of moving vitamins and supplements into the ‘lolly’ realm in the minds of children. This deviates from the fact that vitamins and supplements are a serious product and that too many may cause a health concern.

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