kids should get their vitamins from a balanced, healthy diet that includes:
- milk and dairy products like cheese and yogurt
- plenty of fresh fruits and leafy, green vegetables
- protein like chicken, fish, meat, and eggs
- whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice
But providing such a diet with appropriate quantities of essential nutrients isn’t always possible. That’s why pediatricians may recommend a daily multivitamin or mineral supplement for:
- kids who aren’t eating regular, well-balanced meals made from fresh, whole foods
- finicky eaters who simply aren’t eating enough
- kids with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems, especially if they’re taking medications
- particularly active kids who play physically demanding sports
- kids eating a lot of fast foods, convenience foods, and processed foods
- kids on a vegetarian diet (they may need an iron supplement), a dairy-free diet (they may need a calcium supplement), or other restricted diet
- kids who drink a lot of carbonated sodas, which can leach vitamins and minerals from their bodies
In the alphabet soup of vitamins and minerals, a few stand out as critical for growing kids.
- Vitamin A promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; and healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses.
- Vitamin Bs. The family of B vitamins — B2, B3, B6, and B12 — aid metabolism, energy production, and healthy circulatory and nervous systems.
- Vitamin C promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue, and skin.
- Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium.
- Calcium helps build strong bones as a child grows.
- Iron builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a risk in adolescence, especially for girls once they begin to menstruate.

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