Young children sometimes develop behaviors around eating that scare their parents. Children with low appetites can cause alarm, as parents worry that their low food intake will translate to nutritional deficiencies and health problems in later life. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents discuss their concerns with their pediatrician, who may recommend a vitamin supplement in certain cases.
A low appetite can be a natural aspect of growing up, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Once children enter their toddler years, they experience a slowing of their rate of growth. The effect of the reduced growth rate typically triggers an abrupt and noticeable drop in appetite.
Scientific evidence that points to a direct link between B vitamins and appetite stimulation in children remains unconvincing, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Vitamin B-12, contrary to popular claims, does not appear to encourage appetite in children.
If your child undereats, bear in mind that an eating issue can develop if a child’s parent attempts to force him to eat. According to the Merck Manuals Online Medical Library, sometimes undereating is behavioral, in which case vitamins will have little impact, and may simply become another thing your child refuses to ingest. If parents threaten or coerce children with undereating tendencies, a power struggle often ensues, wherein children may reject the food on their plates or in their mouths, and some may even vomit the food.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it’s important to remember that children are not small adults. When thinking about giving appetite boosting vitamins to your child, keep in mind that his or her body may react differently than an adult's might to the same vitamin in the same dosage. Talk to your pediatrician or your child's health care provider before you supplement your child's diet with vitamins.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Vitamin Supplements and Children
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Ages and Stages: Toddler
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Dietary Supplements for Toddlers
- Pediatrics: Appraisal of the Use of Vitamins B1 and B12 as Supplements Promoted for the Stimulation of Growth and Appetite in Children
- Merck Manuals Online Medical Library: Eating Problems