AUSTIN (KXAN) — Pediatricians say more children are taking multivitamins than ever before and may not need to.
A third of kids and teens in the U.S. take some dietary supplement according to a recent study.
“People are hearing a message about the importance of healthy eating and this is a piece they perceive as being a part of healthy eating,” said Dr. Steven Abrams, a pediatrician at the University of Texas Dell Medical School.
But parents reliance on vitamins may be misguided.
“They may use the vitamin as a way of saying, well my child never has a piece of fruit or vegetable, so as long as I give them a vitamin supplement,” said Dr. Abrams.
He says that’s where the problem begins. Although a multivitamin is unlikely to cause any serious harm to children, pediatricians worry about the vast amount of choices and enticing marketing dotting isles in local stores.
“Supplements that are sometimes on the market are not very well regulated can have hormones in them, or just toxic things in there, or even just so much caffeine,” said Dr. Abrams.
However, if you and your doctor decide your child needs a boost, Dr. Abrams says the best choice is often the cheapest one on the shelf.
“A general, broad type multivitamin that has minerals in it too like calcium and vitamin D in it and don’t worry about it too much,” said Abrams.
Instead, focus on the food at the table. Slowly introduce fruits and veggies and your child will get all the vitamins they need.
Multivitamin use has remained steady over the past decade, but the use of alternative or herbal supplements has jumped and almost doubled.