In today's world, we often encounter children who are either a bit too thin or slightly overweight. Numerous factors contribute to this issue, prompting health authorities to initiate nutrition programs in schools, involving food caterers, parents, and teachers. These initiatives even extend to banning junk and processed foods from both inside and outside school premises.

The gravity of childhood malnourishment, whether in the form of obesity or undernourishment, cannot be overstated. Long-term obesity or underweight conditions in childhood can lead to severe health complications in adulthood, including diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, kidney issues, and more (2).


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition encompasses deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person's energy and nutrient intake. It includes undernutrition (stunting, wasting, underweight, and micronutrient deficiencies) and overweight, obesity, and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer).

Despite numerous efforts, combating childhood malnourishment remains challenging. This problem is further compounded by children who frequently fall ill due to insufficient vitamin and mineral intake.

The American Pediatric Association suggests that not all children require supplements, but specific groups do benefit from them, including children who:

  1. Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
  2. Have conditions that affect nutrient absorption or increase nutrient needs (e.g., celiac disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease).
  3. Have undergone surgeries impacting their intestines or stomach.
  4. Are extremely selective eaters struggling to diversify their diets.

Many children today are picky eaters, making it difficult for working parents to introduce variety into their meals due to time constraints. Consequently, they often allow their children to eat what they prefer, hindering their growth. These children may benefit from supplements to compensate for the nutrients they miss out on.

Some children also face appetite issues. Nutritionists recommend creative approaches to improve children's appetites:

  • Engaging in food-related games, such as having them discover hidden vegetables during meals.
  • Creating visually appealing food presentations, resembling characters from their favorite cartoons.
  • Involving children in cooking processes, sparking their interest in food.
  • Introducing diverse foods to prevent mealtime monotony.

However, time constraints remain a significant challenge for working parents. Hence, many turn to multivitamins and mineral supplements as a convenient solution.

However, caution is vital when considering supplements (1, 4, 5, 6):

  1. Children below 2 years old should avoid supplements and instead explore a variety of foods.
  2. Steer clear of megadose supplements, which can be harmful. Consult healthcare professionals for appropriate dosages based on your child's age.
  3. Inform healthcare providers about any medications your child is taking, as some medications and supplements can interact.

In conclusion, supplementation should not serve as a long-term solution for parents. Encouraging children to consume a diverse and healthy diet is paramount. It is advisable to consult pediatricians, doctors, dietitians, or nutritionists regarding your child's dietary preferences before considering any supplements for them.


  1. Healthline (n.d). Vitamins for Kids. Do they need them (And which ones)?
  2. Bracale, R., Milani, L., Ferrara, E., Balzaretti, C., Valerio, A., Russo, V., Nisoli, E., & Carruba, M. O. (2013). Childhood obesity, overweight and underweight: a study in primary schools in Milan. Eating and weight disorders : EWD, 18(2), 183–191.
  3. Children Health System (n.d). Children activities.
  4. BBC Good Food (n.d). Recipe for kids.
  5. WebMD (n.d). Vitamins for kids: Do Healthy Kids need supplement?
  6. Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Nutrition and Healthy Eating.