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Multivitamins and Kids

Q: My child is in elementary school. Should she be taking a multivitamin?

A: Multivitamins aren't necessary for most healthy children who are growing normally, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Regular meals and snacks can provide all the nutrients most young children need.

While many children are picky eaters, that doesn't necessarily mean that they have nutritional deficiencies. Many foods, including breakfast cereal, milk, and orange juice, are fortified with important nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and iron. So your child may be getting more vitamins and minerals than you think.

Furthermore, multivitamins aren't without some risks. Megadoses of vitamins and minerals can be toxic. In addition, some vitamins and minerals can interact with medications your child may take.

Talk with your child's doctor if you're concerned about whether your child is getting the recommended level of vitamins and minerals. A multivitamin might be helpful for your child if he or she:

  • Has a delay in physical and developmental growth
  • Has a poor appetite and very erratic eating habits
  • Has certain chronic diseases or food allergies
  • Has a restrictive diet, such as a strict vegan diet

If your child's doctor recommends a multivitamin, choose one that is designed for your child’s age group and doesn't provide more than 100 percent of the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals. Keep multivitamins out of your child's reach and make it clear that they aren't candy.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics; Mayo Clinic


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