Over half of U.S. parents give kids a dietary supplement

May 7, 2022 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Over half of U.S. parents give kids a dietary supplement

Kids can be stubborn when it comes to eating the healthy foods on their plate. And now, a new national poll reaffirms that picky eating is a universal parenting challenge.

Three in five parents say it’s hard to get their child to eat a well-balanced diet because of picky eating, not eating enough fruits and vegetables and other reasons.

“A balanced diet helps children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development,” said one of the researchers. “An unhealthy diet, on the other hand, can negatively affect short and long-term health outcomes as well as school performance.

“Still, the reality for many parents is that getting children to eat healthy foods isn’t always easy. Our poll finds that many turn to dietary supplements as a solution but may not always consult with a health provider.”

Survey findings

The findings were based on responses from 1,251 parents with at least one child ages one to ten.

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 fibre in their diet, based on responses from 1,251 parents with at least one child ages one to ten.

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

Multivitamins most commonly used

Most parents polled have given their child dietary supplements, with over 75% using multivitamins. Close to half had also provided kids with probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeast taken to help digestion by enhancing the quantity of good microbes in the gut.

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

Among parents who have given their child supplements, 80% 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.

Parents considering supplements will likely need to choose from various products and formulations that may claim specific health benefits.  

It’s unclear, the researchers said, if this lack of consultation is the result of providers not asking about the child’s nutrition, parents not thinking supplement use warrants professional advice or another reason.

They also noted that 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: Mott Poll Report: Healthy Eating and Use of Dietary Supplements in Children, April 18, 2022.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.