More than half of American parents supplement their picky eaters

By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — If your child is a picky eater and you think you should give him nutritional supplements, you’re not alone.

In a new poll of more than 1,200 U.S. parents with at least one child, ages 1 to 10, more than half said they struggle to get their child to eat a balanced diet and half said they regularly give their child nutritional supplements .

About a third of parents said their child is a picky eater and a third felt their children were not eating enough fruits and vegetables. In addition, 13% feared that their children were not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals; and 9% said their child’s diet needed more fiber.

Half of parents said it was more expensive to feed their child a healthy diet, according to the University of Michigan Health CS Mott Children’s National Poll on Children’s Health.

“A balanced diet helps children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development,” said co-director Sarah Clark. “On the other hand, an unhealthy diet can negatively impact short- and long-term health outcomes, as well as school performance.”

But the reality for many parents is that getting kids to eat well isn’t always easy.

“Our poll shows that many turn to dietary supplements as a solution, but don’t always consult a healthcare provider,” Clark said in a university press release.

Most parents said they gave their children nutritional supplements. Three quarters said they took multivitamins; nearly half used probiotics for gut health; and more than a fifth used Omega 3 supplements for cell growth and brain development.

Of the parents who gave their child supplements, four in five said they used products made especially for children. Only about two in five said they discussed supplement use with their child’s health care provider, and parents in lower-income households were less likely to do so.

“The use of dietary supplements in children is an important health decision to discuss with physicians, but fewer than half of parents who have given their child a supplement spoke to their child’s health care provider,” Clark said. She urged health care providers to discuss nutrition with families to make sure they understand what a healthy diet should include and that they are using supplements appropriately.

“In situations where families cannot afford to provide a healthy diet, providers can refer parents to social service programs that can help,” Clark added.

More information

For more information on infant nutrition and the use of supplements, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, press release, April 18, 2022

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