ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
DASH Diet Has Extra Benefits for Women's Health
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Add your Article

Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Many healthy U.S. children and teenagers may be popping vitamins and mineral supplements they don't need, researchers report.

The experts note that vitamin and mineral supplements are not considered necessary when a person eats a varied diet.

On the other hand, children who actually need these supplements -- those with poorer nutrition, less physical activity, and from low-income households -- may not be getting the dosage of vitamins and minerals they require, according to researchers reporting in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend supplemental vitamins for most children over the age of 1. The supplements are recommended for children with chronic diseases, eating disorders and certain other conditions.

In fact, supplement overdose or poisoning can be an issue, especially in younger (2-to-4-year-olds) children; overdoses can lead to vomiting, or to more serious problems such as kidney or liver damage.

"We were curious about why certain parents may choose to use over-the-counter multivitamin supplements for children, and some might not," said study author Dr. Ulfat Shaikh, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and pediatrician at UC Davis Children's Hospital. "We hypothesized that supplements might be used to reduce adverse effects if parents thought their child wasn't eating right or were wondering where their next meal was coming from."

The authors reviewed data on vitamin and mineral supplementation as well as diet, exercise and health insurance factors on almost 11,000 children and adolescents aged 2 to 17 from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

About a third (34 percent) of young people had used vitamin and mineral supplements in the month before being interviewed.

As expected, underweight children used vitamins and minerals the most.

Surprisingly, however, these supplements were more likely to be consumed by children who did not need them as much, i.e. white children from families with higher incomes, more food security and, overall, better nutrition and physical activity levels. Thirty-seven percent of these children (who were also less likely to be obese) took vitamins, compared to 28 percent of those in less privileged situations.

Cost seems to be the biggest obstacle to lower-income households adding supplements to their children's diet, the team found.

"One of the things that we thought was responsible for this was the possibility that income and parental education status might override other factors," Shaikh said.

And, indeed, the data showed that 22 percent of children in households below the federal poverty line used vitamins, compared with 43 percent in households above the poverty line.

Thirty-eight percent of children in households without food stamps used vitamins, compared with 18 percent of youngsters in households that did use food stamps.

For its part, the supplements industry views the findings as a "call to action" to get vitamin and mineral supplements to this underserved population, said Duffy MacKay, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Center for Responsible Nutrition, in Washington, D.C.

The center has been lobbying to get vitamins and mineral supplementation covered by the food stamp program and WIC (Women Infants Children), Duffy said.

An outside expert added another thought to the process.

"The problem is people who can afford vitamin supplements can also afford a lot of different varieties of food -- not that I think people on limited budgets can't afford to eat healthy," said Kris Rudolph, a pediatric dietitian at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "But . . . you definitely need to sit down and think about it, and you have to have somebody who's helpful."

Low-income families can get vitamins on prescription if they have documented deficiencies, but that documentation is also hard to come by, Rudolph added.

On the other hand, Rudolph noted, a 50-cent can of canned fruit or a bag of frozen vegetables can provide good nutrition.

More information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more on vitamins and minerals.



SOURCES: Ulfat Shaikh, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, University of California Davis School of Medicine and pediatrician, UC Davis Children's Hospital; Duffy MacKay, vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Center for Responsible Nutrition, Washington, D.C.; Kris Rudolph, R.D., L.D., pediatric nutritionist, Cincinnati Children's Hospital; February 2009 Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine

Last Updated: Feb. 02, 2009

Copyright 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com