Parents, when it comes to eating the healthy foods on their plate, children can be stubborn. Picky eating is a universal parenting challenge, according to the new poll.
“A balanced diet helps children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development,” says Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan. “On the other hand, an unhealthy diet can have a negative impact on both short and long-term health outcomes, as well as school performance.”
“However, for many parents, getting their children to eat healthy foods isn’t always easy. According to our poll, many people turn to dietary supplements as a solution but do not always consult with a health care provider.”
A third of parents say their child is a picky eater, and another third believe their child does not eat enough fruits and vegetables. According to the nationally representative report based on responses from 1,251 parents with at least one child ages 1 to 10, 13 percent are concerned that their child isn’t getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals, and 9 percent believe their child needs more fibre in their diet.
Another potential impediment is the cost. Half of parents agreed that providing a healthy diet for their child was more expensive.
“We know that fresh, healthy foods are more expensive than processed or packaged foods, which are frequently higher in sodium and added sugars,” Clark says. “When children waste or refuse to eat healthy foods, this can be especially frustrating for parents.”
When it comes to supplements, parents will most likely have to choose between a variety of products and formulations that each claim to provide specific health benefits.
“Dietary supplements are frequently intended to increase the amount of vitamins children consume through their regular diet,” Clark explains. “However, parents may not always be aware of whether their child is receiving adequate nutrition.”
“The use of dietary supplements in children is an important health decision that should be discussed with doctors, but less than half of parents who have given their child a supplement have discussed it with their child’s health provider.”
“Providers should be diligent in discussing nutrition with families so that they understand what a healthy diet should include and how to use supplements appropriately,” she says. “In cases where families are unable to afford a healthy diet, providers may refer parents to social service programmes that can assist.”
She points out that because supplements are classified as food by the US Food and Drug Administration, they do not undergo the same premarketing evaluation and review as medications.
“There has been little research on the safety and efficacy of supplements, as well as potential side effects in children.” “However, some parents may be unaware that supplements are not subjected to rigorous FDA testing and approval,” Clark says.