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Chew on This: Children Usually Don't Need Vitamins

Posted - Aug. 12, 2003 at 5:40 a.m.



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Worried about your youngster's diet? Slip him or her a multivitamin and chill out, some parents and pediatricians say.

But at $10 a bottle, does a kid really need all those vitamins?

"There's no harm in them," says Dr. Paula Elbirt, a Manhattan pediatrician and author of Dr. Paula's Good Nutrition Guide for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers. But, she said, "it's an expensive way to create interesting urine."

"Most kids don't need to take multivitamins because most of the vitamins are pooped out," she said.

The best way to get vitamins, as we have been told a hundred times, is through a balanced diet. But if your child isn't interested in spinach and liver, should you reach for the Flintstones vitamins?

"Kids who eat a limited diet," Elbirt says, "that kind of kid might benefit, although only a small percentage of that will be used by the body."

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, saying that children who eat a balanced diet don't need to take vitamins. But really picky eaters may benefit, the academy says.

ONLINE:

- pediatrics.about.com

-American Academy of Pediatrics: www.aap.org

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(c) 2003, Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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