According to a new survey, up to half of parents try supplements to improve their child’s nutritional health. Photo by Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia Commons
April 18 (UPI) — More than half of parents in the United States say it’s hard to get their kids to eat a healthy diet, and half say they regularly give them supplements, according to a survey released Monday.
Around a third of responding parents described their child as a picky eater and around a third think their offspring don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, according to the survey released Monday by the University of Michigan Health CS Mott Children’s National Survey of Children’s Health found.
Additionally, 13% worried that their children were not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals, while 9% said their children needed more fiber in their diets, according to data based on responses from 1,251 parents with at least one child between 1 and 10 years old. years.
To compensate, many parents surveyed said they gave their children dietary supplements, with more than 75% opting for multivitamins, the researchers behind the survey said.
Nearly half also provide children with probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeast supplements designed to aid digestion by increasing the amount of good microbes in the gut, they said.
More than 20% reported using omega-3 supplements – fatty acids that support cell growth and brain development, the researchers found.
“A balanced diet helps children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development,” said Sarah Clark, co-director of Mott Poll, in a press release.
“An unhealthy diet, on the other hand, can have a negative effect on short- and long-term health as well as academic performance,” she said.
Nearly 30% of teens and teens in the United States have prediabetes or signs of difficulty processing sugars that are often a precursor to type 2 diabetes later in life, according to recent research estimates.
Additionally, nearly one in five children nationwide meet the criteria for obesity or severe overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although some children are selective or “picky” eaters, studies suggest that a barrier to healthy eating in young people could be cost, the Mott poll researchers said.
Half of responding parents agreed that it costs more to provide their children with healthy food, the data shows.
About a third of parents surveyed say their children have tried — but don’t take — supplements regularly, while four in five say they’ve chosen products made specifically for kids, although only half of between them have discussed supplement use with their child’s health care provider, the researchers said.
According to the survey, parents from lower-income households were less likely to discuss supplement use with a child’s health care provider than higher-income parents.
Supplements are classified by the Food and Drug Administration as foods, so they don’t receive the same premarket evaluation and review as drugs, Clark and colleagues said.
“We know that fresh, healthy foods can be more expensive than processed or packaged foods that are often higher in sodium and added sugars,” Clark said.
“Yet the reality for many parents is that getting kids to eat healthy foods isn’t always easy. [and] our survey reveals that many turn to dietary supplements as a solution, but do not always consult a medical professional,” she said.