Every parent wants their child to be happy and healthy. During childhood, growth and development occurs at a very rapid rate so it’s important to ensure that your child receives the right level of nutrients to support their health and vitality, whichever growth stage they’re at.
Top 5 nutritional deficiencies in Australian children
Your child’s nutritional requirements can vary widely, depending on their age, rate of growth and their level of physical activity. Consequences of poor nutrition are far ranging and include failure to thrive and cognitive difficulties. A vitamin or mineral deficiency may take weeks or months to emerge and may lead to health problems, both now and in the future. Even though a balanced diet will always play an essential role in the healthy growth and development of your child, many children are fussy eaters, which means they may be missing out on several important nutrients.
In Australia, children tend to be deficient, or have low levels of:
Vitamin D: healthy bones
Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, so it plays an important role in the development of healthy bones. Deficiency is more prevalent during the winter months when there is less sunlight available to produce vitamin D. It’s difficult to get good levels of vitamin D from food sources, so spending some time outdoors in the sun, or taking a vitamin D supplement, will help to prevent a dietary vitamin D deficiency. See Children’s Multi Care.
Zinc: healthy immune function & skin
Zinc deficiency is quite common in children. Zinc provides antioxidant support and is important for supporting healthy immune function and maintaining healthy skin. See Children’s Multi Care.
Iodine: brain & eye health
Iodine deficiency is the world’s number one cause of poor cognitive development in children. Iodine helps maintain healthy brain and cognitive function and is beneficial for the prevention of a dietary iodine deficiency. See Children’s Fish-i Care.
Omega-3’s: brain health
Many children are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids (FA’s) in their diet. Fish oil provides eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) FA’s. FA’s are required for healthy brain function and DHA is an important structural component of the brain and helps maintain healthy eye function. Supplementing with FA’s is beneficial for children with a diet low in fish. See Children’s Fish-i Care.
Calcium: strong bones
Calcium helps to strengthen bone and tissue in children. It’s thought that around 50% of children in Australia don’t consume enough calcium in their diets and excess intake of soft drinks, or a diet high in fats and sugar can increase calcium excretion. A diet deficient in calcium can lead to osteoporosis later in life. Adequate dietary calcium during childhood and throughout life is required to maximise bone health. See Children’s Calci Care.
If you think your child may be missing out on any of these important nutrients from their diet, look for good quality supplements that have been specifically formulated with children in mind. A children’s multivitamin and mineral formula, calcium or fish oil formula may help to reduce the risk of your child developing some of these common childhood dietary deficiencies