It's always a good idea to give your kids vitamins, right?
Well, according to a new study by pediatrician Dr. Ulfat Shaikh at UC Davis School of Medicine, health doesn't have much to do with why kids take vitamins ... but poverty does:
Researchers derived the information from an analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results from 1999 to 2004. They found that about one-third of American children ages 2 to 17 had used a vitamin or mineral supplement within the previous month, but that most of them did not need to supplement their diet.
On the other hand, children who used vitamins the least tended to be at greatest risk for nutritional deficits. They did not eat as well as the children who were taking supplements, lived in low-income families that were short of food and had less access to health care, the study found.
“Poverty seems to be the overriding factor,” Dr. Shaikh said. Although supplements may not seem expensive to a middle-class family, the cost may be onerous for a low-income family, she said. “Parents who were poor were perhaps unable to afford supplements.”