Eating a nutritionally balanced diet is good advice for children as well as adults. In fact, teaching a child to make the right food choices is one of the best tools parents and carers can arm them with. The UK’s Department of Health has been recommending vitamins for children between the ages of six months to five years, since the early 1990’s.
Unfortunately, many children today are not taught how to make good food choices because their parents just do not know what the right food choices are. In fact, a child that lives in a household where the parents are too busy to prepare a nutritionally balanced meal or even a meal at all, are more than likely lacking in the very nutrition they need for their bodies to function and develop properly.
Why Vitamins for Children are Important
Growing children, particularly those who do not eat a varied diet, will not always get enough vitamins A and C. In addition, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D through food alone.
From the first days of life, a child needs Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial to the development of healthy, strong teeth and bones. Rickets, a disease thought to be under control, is once again becoming a serious health issue. Its symptoms include bones that are deformed and that are soft and brittle. The skull, for example, is supposed to be thick and hard. One of the first notable signs of rickets is a skull that is thin and soft. If the shape of the head doesn’t form properly, as can happen with Rickets, teeth may not grow in properly. And from there, it’s getting worse. Wrists, ribs, knees, ankles all may experience abnormal growth.
Deficiencies in other vitamins may not produce such obvious effects, which is why many parents may not even realize problems exist. Vitamins provide the instructions for all bodily functions including vision, production of red blood cells and growth hormones and proper development of every major system including the immune system, circulatory system and digestive system.
There is no denying that the vitamins and minerals children need to grow are found in fruits and vegetables. They are also found in lean meats and dairy products, foods that children generally pass up when given the choice. After all, why eat those foods when the world has so many others to offer?
Take a look at food through the eyes of a child and what do you see?
Pizza, ice cream, burgers, hot dogs, French fries, potato chips, sugary fruit drinks, energy drinks, caffeinated soda, cake, cookies, candy, processed portable lunch kits and of course, the all important, readily available, drive through fast food. However, where did the child learn to like this food in the first place.
If you have ever taken a look at the food pyramid, you know that these types of foods are represented, but only by a tiny sliver. That means these foods should make up just a fraction of a person’s daily food intake. They should not be eaten at each meal, and in between, as snacks. But they are, all too often. It’s obvious just by looking at children that many are not eating properly.
Not only are the wrong food choices causing children to be dangerously overweight, they are also the reason why many children are not getting the vitamins and minerals their bodies need to function properly. Out of all the essential vitamins and minerals the body requires, it is only capable of producing a few on its own with the rest having to come from food.
If your child’s diet consists of the foods listed above, you need to take immediate action. Try to introduce more vitamin dense foods into the diet. In the meantime, encourage your child to take daily vitamin supplements that have been formulated as vitamins for children. It will provide the nutrients your child needs to develop properly, it will taste good, and it will be easy to chew or swallow.