Q: At what age should my children make the switch to adult vitamins?
A: Based strictly on nutritional recommendations, if you choose to have your children take vitamins, at age 14, they should probably switch to an adult formula. That is the age when the Recommended Dietary Allowances set for different age groups tend to take a big jump.
But if a younger adolescent girl has begun menstrual periods and does not consume much iron, it could be appropriate to switch her to an adult RDA-level formula supplement (no high-dose products) at a younger age.
The exception to the major nutrient need increase at age 14 is calcium. Recommended amounts increase to 1,300 milligrams (mg) at age nine; this can be obtained from an overall balanced diet that includes three and one-half to four servings of dairy products or other high-calcium foods daily. If you cant get your child to meet this goal, calcium-fortified foods or a separate calcium supplement is in order, beginning at age nine.
Also, remember that if you drink well water or other nonfluoridated water, fluoride supplements (either as part of a multivitamin or separately) are recommended through age 16.
By Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research
Reproduced with Permission