Tuesday, February 3, 2009
A new study suggests about a third of U.S. children and teens take vitamins, but most probably don't need them.
A survey of parents of children aged 2 to 17 shows a decline in vitamin use from the 1970s, when roughly half of all American children took them. But it also shows that most of those taking the pills are healthy, active children.
The study highlights a question doctors often parents: Should I give my child vitamins"?
The lead author says taking daily multivitamins in the recommended dose is probably harmless. But if a child is gets plenty of exercise and eats a varied diet, including high fiber, plenty of milk, lower fat and cholesterol, the vitamins often are not needed.
She says the children who fit this profile who were the highest users among those surveyed. She adds taking a pill won't make up for a lousy diet.
The findings are in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.