Most children who take vitamins don’t really need them, and kids who eat poorly and are most likely to benefit from nutritional supplements rarely get them, a new study reports.The results surprised researchers, said lead author Dr. Ulfat Shaikh, a pediatrician at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine who treats children with nutritional problems.
“We hypothesized that people who use minerals and vitamin supplements might be using them to cushion the effects of poor nutrition,” she said. “We actually found the opposite.”
The children who used supplements the most were those who already drank a lot of milk, ate a lot of fiber and didn’t consume much fat or cholesterol, Dr. Shaikh said. They were healthier overall and tended to be white, have health insurance and come from upper-income families. They also tended to get a lot of exercise, weren’t overweight, considered themselves in good health and didn’t watch too much television or spend a lot of time playing video games.
The study was published in today’s issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.