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Doctors: 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 gains among children during the pandemic.
Healthier School Meals
Posted at 11:52 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 14:59:54-04

Many parents are concerned their children aren't getting enough nutrition at mealtime.

According to a poll from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan, picky eating and produce prices have 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 reports that 3 in 5 parents say it's hard to get their child to eat a balanced diet. Half of the parents said their child regularly takes a dietary supplement. 

"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 hospitalized," said Dr. Bergen Nelson, an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. "It is also associated with developmental delays, behavioral problems, and school problems." 

Pediatricians have reported excess weight gain among children during the pandemic. 

"When I'm seeing patients, many patients went up significantly in their weight," said Dr. Helene Felman, a pediatrician at Banner University Medical Center. "Rates of increase for body mass index or obesity doubled during the pandemic."

Felman says she's now doubling down on the importance of a balanced diet with her patients.

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

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

Parents are encouraged to set an example for their children by eating fruits and vegetables themselves.

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