Parents often worry a lot, particularly when it comes to their children's health.

They shouldn't worry, however, about whether their child is getting enough vitamins, said Eric Lunn, Altru Health System president and pediatrician.

If a child has a well-balanced diet, kids shouldn't need to take vitamin supplements, Lunn said.

"The vast majority of kids eat or drink plenty of foods containing vitamins," Lunn said. "So actually, pediatricians feel healthy children who are eating a healthy diet don't need vitamins."

A healthy diet, according to Lunn, includes a good mix of milk, other dairy, vegetables and meats in order to get their daily allotment of vitamins.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

If the child is a picky eater or doesn't have a healthy diet, families can put them on a one-a-day vitamin if they think it's necessary, but largely children don't need routine supplementation.

Taking supplements along with having a balanced diet can be a waste of money because kids probably don't need it, Lunn said. Though taking vitamins most likely won't hurt the child-unless taken in megadoses-it won't help them much either.

If taken in excess, the body simply gets rid of the vitamins it doesn't need.

"The rule is if you can get your vitamins and minerals from natural foods, it's better for you than taking a supplement," Lunn said.

An exception to taking vitamins would be young children and Vitamin D, particularly in this climate because the north doesn't get much sun in the winter.

If keeping vitamins in the house, Lunn advised to keep them out of reach of small children. Many supplements are designed to taste good and look appealing to children, so children could hurt themselves if they eat too many.

"If vitamins are at home, make sure they're up and out of the hands of children," he said.

The importance of natural sources continues into their teenage years, Lunn said. When they reach their teen years, bones begin to be their strongest, so calcium is particularly important, Lunn said, but teenagers can get their sources of calcium from milk, yogurt and cheese.