Survey: One-third of kids regularly use dietary supplements or alternative medicines

The New York Times (6/18, Bakalar, Subscription Publication) reports, “A third of children under 19 are regular users of dietary supplements or alternative medicines,” researchers concluded after analyzing “data from a large national survey.” The data revealed that “multivitamins were the most common supplements, followed by vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and melatonin.” The findings were published online as a research letter in JAMA Pediatrics.

The ABC News (6/18, Tawagi) website reports that “the use of alternative medicines – including digestive aids, probiotics, joint, energy and other non-vitamin substances – in teens nearly doubled, to 6.7 percent from 3.7 percent over” the time period from 2003 to 2014, the data found, with girls “more likely to be taking iron, calcium and vitamin B products, while boys were more likely to use omega-3 and bodybuilding supplements.” According to ABC News, “parents should be aware that these alternative products can have serious side effects, and are not regulated by the FDA for safety, quality or” effectiveness. What’s more, “the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for most children, a healthy diet is the best source of vitamins and minerals.”

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