Imagine tripling your body weight within one year. Well, that’s status quo for the average healthy baby, who triples his/her birth weight before their first birthday. By age two, birth weight is often quadrupled. And from about age three through puberty, many children grow about two inches each year. Talk about lightning fast development!
The childhood years comprise an important nutritional period as the foundation for helping kids thrive. States Susan Hazels Mitmesser, Ph.D., director of nutrition research at Solgar, Leonia, NJ, “Good nutrition during this period not only supports healthy development, but also may be associated with a healthy life into adulthood.”
Mixed Messages on Multis
Picky, picky. Veggies are icky! Parents are inundated with diverse opinions about multivitamins. The Mayo Clinic says they aren’t necessary if a child is healthy and growing normally (1), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) feels the same way (2).
Not everyone agrees with this opinion, however. While kids should get most of their nutrients from a broad-range of healthy whole foods, says Michele McRae, M.S., C.N., senior director of research, formulation and quality at Rainbow Light Nutitional Systems, Santa Cruz, CA, she has an important follow-up: “Unfortunately, many children do not eat a healthy diet on a daily basis; this is where multivitamins come into play.”
Andreas Koch, Marketing Director for Barlean’s, Ferndale, WA, is in agreement, saying, that parents—even in this country—don’t have an easy job giving their children a balanced diet. He states, “It makes sense to buy the inexpensive insurance policy and give children a daily multivitamin. That way, you’re sure you’ve got all dietary nutrition covered.”
Without a base level of nutrition that multis provide, too many people are falling short of what they need to support optimal health and wellness. A 2011 report (3) found that “about 90% of Americans, including children, are not even getting the lowly RDAs of essential nutrients from diet consistently,” says Michael Mooney, director of science and education at SuperNutrition, Oakland, CA.
Rafael Avila, manager of research and development at Nature’s Plus, Melville, NY, provides some specifics on the topic, noting that “although Americans are more health conscious than ever, our nutritional profile is still not very good.” The Center for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data suggest 94% of Americans consume inadequate amounts of vitamin D, 90% are deficient in vitamin E, 50% get insufficient levels of magnesium, 46% receive inadequate calcium, 41% are inadequate in vitamin A and 37% are inadequate in vitamin C, Avila explains. Zinc, iron, B6, B12, selenium, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin intakes are also inadequate in our diet (4).
Shortfalls in kids’ diets may partly stem from food choices. Lisa Lent, founder and CEO of Vitalah, Watsonville, CA, says, “more than one-third of the daily calories consumed by an average child come from solid fats and added sugar” (5).
In addition, too many kids choose from the same narrow options day in and day out. Even healthy choices won’t completely solve the problem if variety isn’t happening. States Hallie Rich, founder and president of Rich Vitamins, New York, NY, “Many children tend to be picky eaters … trying to get them to try something new and different is a hassle at best.”
But, there’s hope: “Taking a whole food-based children’s multinutrient formula serves as a nutritional insurance policy guaranteeing that children get all the essential vitamins and minerals they require on a daily basis by sneaking in all the healthy fruits and vegetables kids love to hate,” states Trisha Sugarek MacDonald, B.S., M.S., director of research and development/national educator at Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation, Sugar Land, TX.
1. J.L. Hoecker, “Should I Give Multivitamins to My Preschooler?” www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/multivitamins/faq-20058310, accessed June 30, 2014.
2. “Sound Advice,” www.healthychildren.org/English/…/Stettler-8-16-10v4_1.pdf, accessed June 30, 2014. 3. Milk Processor Education Program Dairy Research Institute, What America’s Missing: A 2011 Report on the Nation’s Nutrient Gap, http://files.meetup.com/327611/What%20America’s%20Missing.pdf, accessed June 30, 2014.
4. International Life Sciences Institute, www.ilsi.org/NorthAmerica/Documents/FORTIFICATION/3_Moshfegh_June%202012.pdf, accessed June 30, 2014.
5. “U.S. Children, Teens Are Consuming Fewer Calories,” www.rwjf.org/en/about-rwjf/newsroom/newsroom-content/2013/03/us-children-consuming-fewer-calories.html, accessed June 30, 2014.
Blog exert was written by: Kaylynn Chiarello-Ebner, Whole Foods Magazine, August 2014
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