Science and Tech


Experts: Children's Vitamins Are No Substitute For Fruits, Vegetables

In a new poll, parents say it's hard to get their kids to eat healthy as doctors report excess weight gain among children during the pandemic.
Posted at 8:21 PM, Apr 18, 2022

Concerned your little one isn't getting enough nutrition from their plate? Lots of parents are. 

According to a new poll from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan, picky eating and produce prices have more and more parents turning to daily supplements as a way to ensure their children are getting the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet. 

The poll found that 3 in 5 parents say it's hard to get their child to eat a balanced diet, with half of the parents saying their child regularly takes a dietary supplement. 

Dr. Bergen Nelson is an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University.

"If a child is not getting enough healthy food, we know that can lead to more frequent illnesses, to having longer time recovering from illnesses, more likely to be hospitalized," he said. "It is also associated with developmental delays, behavioral problems, and school problems." 

This comes as pediatricians report excess weight gain among children during the pandemic. 

Dr. Helene Felman is a pediatrician at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

"When I'm seeing patients, many patients went up significantly in their weight," she said. "Rates of increase for body mass index or obesity doubled during the pandemic."

This has pediatricians doubling down on the importance of a balanced diet. 

"Try to get as many fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet as possible," Felman continued.

According to the Mayo Clinic, children between the ages of 2 and 13 should eat one to two cups of fruit per day and one to three and a half cups of vegetables. 

And many pediatricians have tips for making that process smoother if you child is resistant to eating those foods. For example, parents are encouraged to set an example for their children by eating fruits and vegetables themselves. They are also encouraged to try cutting fruits and vegetables into shapes that make it fun for their children. But if you do find yourself feeling that supplements may be needed, pediatricians recommend that you reach out and consult them.