Paediatric and Teenage Nutrition

food, feeding and nutrition

Tag: vitamin supplement

does my child need a vitamin D supplement?

metabolism of vitamin DThis is a question many parents ask me. Multivitamin and mineral supplements should not be needed as nutrient deficiencies are rare in the UK. Provided your child is eating a variety from the 5 food groups, they are unlikely to need a vitamin supplement. The exception for this is a Vitamin D supplement. Rickets, a condition where growing bones are misshapen, is caused by Vitamin D deficiency in childhood.  It was prevalent in UK children in the early 1900’s, and is being seen increasingly in the UK again.  The reasons are multi-factorial and include less time playing outside in the sunshine, the use of sun-block because of worries about skin cancer and declining oily fish consumption.  Oily fish is the only significant dietary source of Vitamin D. More than 90% of our Vitamin D needs are met by the action of UV sun rays on the skin. Recent guidance on the need for a Vitamin D supplement from Public Health England (PHE) following a SACN review of the evidence on Vitamin D and Health says

“Children aged 1 to 4 years should have a daily 10 microgram vitamin D supplement. PHE recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed until around 6 months of age. As a precaution, all babies under 1 year should have a daily 8.5 to 10 microgram vitamin D supplement to ensure they get enough. Children who have more than 500ml of infant formula a day do not need any additional vitamin D as formula is already fortified.”

Sure Start vitamins containing Vitamin D are available for all children under 4.  Pregnant and breast feeding mums should also remember to take a Vitamin D supplement containing a minimum of 10ug daily.

portion sizes for your toddler

How confident do you feel about portion sizes for your toddler?  In a recent survey from the Infant & Toddler Form, 73% of mums felt that they their toddlers were not eating enough.  Toddlers appetites vary depending on how they feel, what’s on offer, how tired they are  Some days there is no feeding them.  Fussy eating and food refusal during the toddler years is a great cause for concern with parents, but it is a normal part of childhood development. Toddlers can be be tricky feeders at mealtimes, with food refusal gaining attention and often resulting in a battle of wills.  Use this portion size guide to help guide you.

Can giving toddlers large portions cause excess weight gain and obesity?
Large portion sizes for toddler meals are linked to obesity development says another recent survey.  There is however no single cause for obesity, just as there is no single correct portion size for toddler. Meal times are good opportunities to eat nutritious food, and portion sizes of nutritious food should not be limited.  Foods high in fats and sugars, deep fried and battered should be kept to a minimum, as these are very high in calories and do contribute to obesity if eaten regularly. But, it’s often the food eaten outside of mealtimes that is high in calories with low nutritional value.  For all you worried mum’s out there, its good to know that nutrient deficiencies are rare in the UK, and children who are eating a variety of foods from the 5 food groups will not need a vitamin supplement.

Need further advice?  Contact Carine to book an appointment.