It is important for all children to eat a balanced diet and keep active to stay healthy.
Parents of particularly picky eaters should speak with their primary health care practitioner to discuss the best ways to ensure their child is getting adequate calories, vitamins and minerals to support growth. Adolescent age-groups tend to have inadequate levels of vitamin A and magnesium. The intakes of older adolescent girls (14-18 years) are the most problematic with vitamin B6, B12, folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin A all being inadequate. This group should consult their health care practitioner and consider supplementation with a multivitamin as well as strive to have 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Additionally, starting at birth, the breastfed baby would benefit from a vitamin D supplement of 400IU. The requirement for supplemental vitamins decreases once the child starts to drink cow’s milk, which is fortified with vitamin D in Canada. Consult your health care practitioner regarding vitamin D supplementation for breast fed babies. In children, low levels of vitamin D can cause rickets, a condition characterized by soft bones and skeletal deformities. Although rare, rickets continues to be reported in Canada. Vitamin D is unique because it can be made by the body through exposure to sunlight while most vitamins need to be ingested. The body’s ability to produce vitamin D is affected by factors such as latitude, season, time of day, cloud cover, smog, clothing coverage, and sunscreen use.