Highlights of the May 2005 Journal of the American Dietetic Association


Dietary Supplement Use among Young Children

As much as $1.7 billion are spent each year on dietary supplements in the United States alone. But although supplement use is popular, "patterns of use are not widely understood," especially among children. Researcher Julie Mae Eichenberger Gilmore of the University of Iowa studied patterns of nutrient supplementation among nearly 400 young white children as part of a larger study of children's dental health. Parents were asked to fill out food diaries and questionnaires about their children's vitamin and mineral supplement intake beginning at six weeks of age up to 2 years. Results of the study included:

  • Use of supplements by children during their first two years was "common behavior," even though the study also showed most of the children were obtaining adequate nutrients from their diet alone.
  • The prevalence of supplement use increased with age. By the end of 24 months, nearly 32 percent of the children were taking some supplement. Among supplement users, the frequency of use ranged from 40 percent to 60 percent of days reported.
  • Intakes of some nutrients, such as vitamin E and folate, "were not sufficient for a large proportion of young children."

Is It True What They Say about Breakfast for School-Aged Kids?

Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and a new review of recent scientific studies of children's breakfast consumption indicates she may have been on to something. A group led by researchers at the University of Florida examined the results of 47 studies to determine relationships among children's breakfast consumption, body weight and academic performance. The studies showed that, even though the quality of breakfasts varied, children who consistently ate breakfast had "superior nutritional profiles" than those children who skipped breakfast. The review of the studies also found breakfast eaters generally consumed more calories each day, but were less likely to be overweight. Results also indicated eating breakfast may improve children's memory, test grades and school attendance. "Parents should be encouraged to provide breakfast for their children or explore the availability of a school breakfast program," the researchers write.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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