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Multivitamins for children: To consume or avoid

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Multivitamins are pills that are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals that are known to be good for you. When these pills are packaged for kids, they typically take the form of gummies or animal-shaped, chewable tablets, packed in bottles adorned by popular cartoon characters.

As children can be picky eaters, some parents rely on multivitamins to make up for the vegetables or other food groups their children prefer to avoid eating.

However, many experts caution against using multivitamins as a substitute for consuming nutritious food. Eating healthy remains the best way to ensure your body absorbs the nutrients it needs and multivitamins should only serve as a back-up source for these minerals, when your diet proves less than ideal.

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Additionally, consuming too much vitamins and minerals can also be toxic. For example, ingesting more than 2,000mg of the vitamin in a day can result in vomiting, headache, insomnia and also diarrhoea.

As a result, parents are advised to place multivitamins out of reach from children, in the event the kids mistake these pills as sweets and end up taking more than the advised amount in a day. 

Nevertheless, children with certain health issues could have trouble absorbing nutrients or are unable to eat certain types of food, so multivitamins can be a convenient way to provide them with what they are missing out. However, in these cases, the multivitamins and supplements should be taken as directed by a medical professional or a dietician.

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Photo: Shutterstock

Fortified foods are the other popular option parents usually go for when trying to ensure their children are ingesting sufficient nutrients. According to the Mayo Clinic, younger ones who refuse to eat vegetables or common health foods can obtain nutrients such as calcium and iron from processed foods fortified with these minerals, like breakfast cereals, milk and juices.
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