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Children and Nutrients

Children nutrientsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

When an estimated 160 million American adults are considered overweight or obese, it’s alarming, but not surprising, that nearly 30 percent of girls and boys under age 20 are also overweight or obese. The rate of obesity among American children is troubling, as severe health effects of childhood obesity include high blood pressure and high cholesterol, risks for developing cardiovascular disease. Overweight children are also at risk for impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as joint issues, musculoskeletal discomfort and fatty liver disease. Overweight children often have low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, social problems and self-reported low quality of life. That’s a lot of issues and pressure for children to deal with, especially when healthier lifestyle habits can support physical and psychological health.

Like adults, childhood obesity is influenced by unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Drivers of childhood obesity include a diet filled with high-calorie, low-nutrient-density foods and sugary beverages, inadequate physical activity and a high amount of sedentary time, as well as unhealthy sleep patterns. Many in the medical community warn that childhood obesity is a lifetime sentence, as overweight children grow to be overweight adults with threatened life expectancy and diminished long-term health. Conversely, a healthy diet and regular physical activity support healthy growth and development, as well as normal weight maintenance throughout childhood.

Despite previous reports that childhood obesity had stabilized in recent years, a team of experts at Duke University found no evidence of a decline in obesity prevalence among children or adults. Sadly, as the obesity epidemic continues to worsen, researchers found that the most severe obesity was increasing among very young children, those under five years of age, as well as girls in their late teens. While a comprehensive national strategy is needed to combat the obesity epidemic, including reserving time for physical education in schools and protecting children from manipulative food advertising, good lifestyle habits begin in the home. When parents model healthy behaviors, kids follow suit. Although getting a child to eat healthy foods can be a constant struggle, it is a battle worth fighting, as healthy children grow to be healthy adults.

  • Americans typically exceed the recommended levels of calories from solid fats, added sugars, refined grains and sodium.
  • Foods that provide calories but not nutrients, such as added sugars and fats, make up approximately 40 percent of the daily diet for 2 – 18 year olds, largely from soft drinks, pizza and desserts.
  • Only one in three children are physically active every day.
  • Many children spend an average of seven and one half hours in front of a screen, such as TV, phones, and computers.
  • On an average school day, nearly one third of teens play video or computer games for three or more hours.
  • In general, American adults and children eat less than the recommended amounts of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables and grains, as well as dairy and healthy fats.

A recent national survey found that 75 percent of respondents considered their diets to be good, very good or excellent. While some seem confused about what actually constitutes a healthy diet, adding a fruit or a vegetable to every meal is a good place to start. While we may be choosing foods that are healthy in moderation, portion size is a major cause of obesity.

Estimated daily caloric needs for children and teens:

  • 2-3 years old – 1,000
  • 4-8 years old – 1,200-1,400
  • 9-13 year old girls – 1,400-1,600
  • 9-13 year old boys – 1,600-2,000
  • 14-18 year old girls –  1,800
  • 14-18 year old boys – 2,000-2,400

Infants and babies under age 2 need healthy fats for brain and nerve development. Toddlers and preschoolers need calcium to build strong bones and teeth. This is a good age to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption, as kids need nutrients as well as fiber for healthy digestion. Grade schoolers need sufficient protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. Teens have higher calcium requirements, as the majority of bone mass is built during this time. As well, teen girls have higher iron requirements and boys need slightly higher protein than girls. During the first year of life, infants don’t require water, but at all other ages, offer water frequently, especially when its hot outside or when children are engaged in sports or physical activity.

  • Vitamin A is needed for healthy skin and normal growth, as well as vision and tissue repair.
  • Vitamin B assists in metabolic activities and is necessary to produce red blood cells.
  • Vitamin C is needed for immune system health and strength, as well as for healthy tissue, muscles and skin.
  • Vitamin D aids calcium absorption into bones and aids the formation of strong teeth.
  • Iron helps build muscles and healthy blood.
  • Calcium is vital for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
  • Supplements are not intended to replace a healthy diet. However they can provide nutrients often missing in the diet in support of overall health, growth and development.

Professional Supplement Center offers many high quality supplements formulated to support children’s and teens’ digestive and overall health:

Junior NutrientsJunior Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations®: Designed for teens and children ages 4 and over, this hypoallergenic formula provides nutrient-rich, highly bioavailable activated multivitamins, minerals and trace elements in support of daily wellness. Gluten free, Non-GMO hypoallergenic formulation.

Ther-Biotic Children...Ther-Biotic® Children’s Chewable by Klaire Labs™: This broad-spectrum hypoallergenic probiotic supplement is formulated for children ages 2 and older. A potent pre-and probiotic blend, these natural cherry flavored chewable tablets provide 25 billion CFU of 8 beneficial strains of microflora in support of healthy gastrointestinal and immune function in children. Free of gluten, wheat, milk/casein, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

Berry DophilusBerry Dophilus™ by Now® Foods: Suitable for adults and children, these berry flavored chewables provide a blend of 10 clinically validated strains of beneficial probiotic strains for a total of 2 billion CFU per serving. Berry Dophilus™ is designed to support healthy gastrointestinal and immune function and a healthy microbiome, creating a favorable environment for absorption of nutrients. Xylitol sweetened. Gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soy and  tree nut free, kosher, halal, keto-friendly vegan formulation.

Digest Smart Kids...Digest Smart® Kids Enzyme by Renew Life™: This berry flavored chewable amino acid and plant-based enzyme formula provides 7 kid-friendly digestive enzymes that gently break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats in support of healthy digestive function, as well as a healthy intestinal lining. No sugar or artificial ingredients. Quality, purity and potency guaranteed through expiration date.

Ultra Preventive...Ultra Preventative® Kids Grape by Douglas Laboratories®: Formulated for children ages 4 and older, this great tasting chewable multivitamin, mineral and trace element supplement provides important antioxidant vitamins C and E, a complete vitamin B complex, easily absorbable calcium and magnesium, as well as a full spectrum of bioavailable trace elements in support of children’s overall health and wellbeing. Free of yeast, gluten, soy protein, milk/dairy, corn, sodium, starch and artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives. Vegetarian formulation.

Childhood Obesity Causes and Consequences:  https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html
The vast majority of American adults are overweight or obese, and weight is a growing problem among US children, http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/vast-majority-american-adults-are-overweight-or-obese-and-weight-growing-problem-among
Childhood Nutrition. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Childhood-Nutrition.aspx
Understanding the Role of Nutrition in the Brain & Behavioral Development of Toddlers and Preschool Children: Identifying and Overcoming Methodological Barriers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776771/
Kids Need Their Nutrients. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=kids-need-their-nutrients–1-19820


Heart Health Begins in Childhood

HeartHealthChildhoodJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

The development of heart disease is a lifelong process that increases slowly and steadily, and then rises sharply as we age. Often diagnosed later in life, new research suggests that atherosclerosis, plaque buildup on artery walls, can begin in childhood, supporting the belief that cardiovascular disease manifests very early in life, decades before a heart attack might occur. As prevention is often the key to good health, parents of young children, adolescents and teens can take preventative steps early on to modify risk factors and avoid or minimize the risks of heart problems in adulthood.

Harvard Health Publications notes that with atherosclerosis beginning in youth, a 50-year old American male has a one-in-two risk of developing heart disease during his remaining years. However, a man who has no risk factors, who has normal cholesterol, normal blood pressure, maintains a healthy weight, and doesn’t smoke or have diabetes has a “remarkably low 5% risk of developing cardiovascular disease by age 95, and can expect to live 11 years longer than a man with two or more risk factors and a 69% chance of heart disease.”

The role of vitamin D:

In adults, evidence shows that low levels of vitamin D are linked to cardiovascular disease, as well as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. In Toronto, Canada, an ongoing collaborative program, involving researchers and pediatricians at St. Michael’s Hospital and The Hospital for Sick Children, monitors well visits of over 5000 children from birth through adolescence. With the goal of optimizing growth and development, and identifying links between early childhood and adult health, researchers and pediatricians look to implement solutions for common health problems that can lead to life-long health problems, including heart disease, obesity and micronutrient deficiencies. In children, researchers have found a “statistically significant association” between higher vitamin D levels and lower levels of artery clogging LDL cholesterol, suggesting sufficient vitamin D in early life may aid in reducing cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood.

Lifestyle factors:

Per the American Heart Association, one in three American children and teens are overweight or obese, resulting in a wide range of health problems that were not seen before adulthood just a few decades ago. Risk factors, including hypertension, high cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity related depression and low self-esteem, often follow children into adulthood, significantly increasing cardiovascular disease prevalence and shortening life expectancy. Identifying children at risk for developing heart disease with regular blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, along with healthy lifestyle early interventions of improved diet, increased physical activity, and weight loss, can help to prevent heart issues later in life and support long-term health and longevity.

Smoking is a major contributor to heart disease, and unlike genetically high cholesterol or high blood pressure, smoking is a controllable risk factor. Statistics show most adult smokers began smoking in high school, and that most teens who take up smoking have parents who smoke. Fortunately, many teens find smoking unhealthy and are avoiding what can become a lifelong addictive habit. Research shows that teens who finish high school smoke-free are not likely to start.

By a large measure, parents can influence their children’s behavior by encouraging healthy eating and regular aerobic activity, as well as discouraging teen smoking and setting a good example by not smoking themselves. A high fiber, balanced and varied heart healthy diet encourages a lifetime of healthy eating. It’s very important that children grow up knowing that in adulthood, they will be largely responsible for their own health and wellbeing. As atherosclerosis begins early in life, prevention should begin early as well.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other quality supplements to support children and teens health and wellness:

Childrens Formula...ON SALE Children’s Formula Life Extension Mix™ by Life Extension – These kid-friendly chewables provide essential vitamins and minerals, plus phytonutrients, amino acids, phospholipids and probiotics in support of healthy development. Specifically formulated for children aged four and older. Natural berry and vanilla flavoring.

Vitamin D3 Gummies...ON SALE Vitamin D3 Gummies for Kids by Nordic Naturals – One daily serving provides 400 IU of vitamin D3, 100% of the daily value for children aged four and older. This highly absorbable vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol provides safe and effective support for healthy childhood development. Natural fruit flavor and vegetable color. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Junior NutrientsJunior Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations – This complete hypo-allergenic, bioavailable multivitamin, mineral chelate and trace element formula is designed to support overall health for children over age four through the teenage years. Small capsules for easy swallowing.

Ultra Preventive...Ultra Preventative® Kids Orange by Douglas Laboratories – This great tasting chewable provides a full spectrum of bioavailable vitamins, minerals and trace elements, along with additional vitamin D3, in support of healthy growth and development. Gluten, soy and dairy free, hypoallergenic formulation. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Does the road to heart health start in childhood? http://www.texasheart.org/HIC/Topics/HSmart/children_risk_factors.cfm
Arteriosclerosis/Atherosclerosis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/home/ovc-20167019
Prevention of Heart Disease Starts in Childhood. http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=prevention-of-heart-disease-starts-in-childhood-1-2073
Does heart disease begin in childhood? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150715155323.htm
Overweight in Children. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp
Obese Children Have Greater Risk for Adult Heart Disease. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/03/obese-children-have-greater-risk-for-adult-heart-disease/
TARGet Kids The origins of good health. http://www.sickkids.ca/paediatricmedicine/research-activities/targetkids/index.html
Premature heart disease. http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/premature-heart-disease


Supplements for Picky Eaters (aka Kids)

PickyEaterJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

While some of us may describe children as either “good” or “picky” eaters, many toddlers develop a preference for a limited variety of low-nutrient dense foods, preferring sugary or salty empty calorie foods to proteins, fiber-filled vegetables, and fruits. To a certain extent, it’s normal for very young children to have aversions to certain foods largely due to their perceptions of the texture, color, taste or smell of individual foods. When infants first start eating solid foods, many will eat or at least try different foods offered to them. However, once a toddler reaches two years of age, around 50% will develop eating preferences with specific likes and dislikes, and may refuse foods they have previously eaten or decline to try new foods. Many parents worry about their child’s nutrition or lack thereof, especially when children refuse to eat all but very few foods. While children who eat well one day and practically nothing the next may worry a doting parent, it’s natural for a two-year old’s appetite to be erratic.

It’s best not to get into a power struggle over food, as for the majority of toddlers fussy eating is a fleeting stage. It may help parents to know that according to guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, toddlers actually require less calories per pound than infants. Yet, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that up to 85% of parents admitted to pushing their children to eat more by praising or rewarding children for taking a “few more bites.” For frustrated parents, changing a child’s eating patterns takes time, patience and strategies. The long term goal is to raise a healthy eater, so put the focus on helping a child learn to like vegetables rather than stressing over whether or not they eat their broccoli today.

  • Set an example by eating healthy meals yourself. Let your child see you enjoy your food and maintain a neutral attitude throughout the meal. Make mealtimes pleasant and avoid distractions, such as TV or cellphones. As much as possible, be consistent about meal and snack times.
  • The least amount of fuss you make the better. Encourage, but don’t force your child to eat or punish when they don’t. This behavior can result in anxiety, obesity and other eating disorders, which can have lifelong consequences.
  • Plate a very small amount of food you would like your child to try. Start small by serving just a few peas or two strawberries and don’t make a fuss if the child doesn’t eat it. Present the food again in a systematic way at another time. Keep at it and at some point your child will decide to try it.
  • Children like to participate and make their own choices. Let the kids choose some vegetables or fruits at the grocery store and don’t be persuaded to buy unhealthy processed foods or snacks. Get them involved as much as possible in helping and preparing meals. Create a snack box with healthy snacks kids like, such as small boxes of raisins, dried fruit, or cereal bars that kids can access on their own at appropriate times.
  • Serve fruit, yogurt or other healthy foods as dessert and select a special night or two each week for sweet desserts.

As parents work through the process of transforming a picky eater into a more adventurous and inclusive one, deficiencies can be addressed through supplementation of micronutrients, and small dietary changes that a child might accept. Parents can try adding a serving of protein powder to a smoothie and switch from refined grains to whole grains to add fiber to the diet. A study that compared picky eaters and non-picky eaters found deficiencies of folate and vitamin E in both groups. Additionally, they found picky eaters to be deficient in calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, D, B1 (thiamine) and B3 (niacin). Children require sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals for growth, development, bodily functions and overall wellness. Parents of children without adequate nutrition should continue to support and guide their child toward healthier eating and should consider providing a daily age-appropriate multivitamin and mineral supplement.

There are, of course, always exceptions. When a child’s refusal to eat continues and gets in the way of normal living, there may be an underlying medical condition, such as digestive issues, food allergies, or hypersensitivities. Short term picky eating is normal, long term finicky eating may be a sign that all is not well. Rejection of entire food groups, anxiousness about food, refusing to eat unfamiliar foods despite hunger, or an actual repulsion in regards to food are signs of Selective Eating Disorder, which can follow children into adulthood. When a child gets upset or anxious about food, or the pickiness escalates or continues as the child moves from toddlerhood to childhood, or when eating habits hinder a child’s social life, a visit to a health professional or a referral to a dietician may be in order.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality kid friendly vitamins to support your child’s nutritional needs and overall wellness:

Ultra Preventive Kids Grape (201035) by Douglas LaboratoriesUltra Preventive Kids – These great tasting chewables are designed for children aged 4 and older and are carefully formulated to contain correct proportions of highly absorbable vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Available in natural grape or natural orange flavors. Sweetened with purified stevia and xylitol. Gluten and soy free, vegetarian formulation.


Kids Complete by SmartyPants VitaminsKids Complete by SmartyPants Vitamins – These yummy gummies provide appropriate doses of bioavailable key nutrients often missing from diet. Designed by parents and doctors for their own picky eaters without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  Natural orange, lemon and cherry flavors. Lightly sweetened with organic cane sugar. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.


Junior Nutrients by Pure EncapsulationsJunior Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations – This comprehensive, hypoallergenic formula is designed for teens and children aged 4 and up. The small easy-to-swallow capsules provide nutrient rich, highly bioavailable vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Kid's One Daily by MegaFoodKid’s One Daily by MegaFood – These convenient mini-tablets provide 24 essential nutrients to support healthy growth and development. Formulated with FoodState Nutrients™ and an organic FoodState® Farm Fresh Fruit Blend with protective antioxidants and no added sweeteners. Gluten, soy and lactose free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Children’s nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948
Proven Strategies for Picky Eaters. http://www.parents.com/recipes/nutrition/picky-eater-strategies/
Why You Should Worry About Picky Eaters. http://time.com/3981050/picky-eating-health-risks/
Are You a Picky Eater? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-are-you-picky-eater-blame-genes-brains-and-breast-milk-180953456/?no-ist
How Much Does My Kid Need to Eat? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-are-you-picky-eater-blame-genes-brains-and-breast-milk-180953456/?no-ist
How to Handle Picky Eaters. http://www.parenting.com/article/picky-eater-kids
Is Picky Eating an Eating Disorder? Living With Selective Eating Disorder and No Vegetables.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bustle/picky-eating-an-eating-disorder-living-with-selective-eating-disorder-and-no-vegetables_b_4986010.html
Picky Eating in Childhood. http://blog.designsforhealth.com/blog/picky-eating-in-childhood?utm_campaign=Weekly+Science+Update&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=33157581&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9nNv2vvEu7TU67LHZkJW5W3lS1-LAcvmtQ6CsV6go1MA6WhhtlBVAGWdNrvwAnx-tKN32V6MjI0yjY8CtYsUqjMNOf8J60hn8At12stHzejfonwMw&_hsmi=33157581