What can you do if your priority is five a day - but your child's is chips and ice cream?
Many parents reach for multi-vitamins to fill the gap.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the market for children's supplements is growing rapidly: in 2005 we spent over £33 million on them, a year later it was nearly £38 million. But what many parents will be alarmed to learn is that a worrying amount of "junk" can be in some of these supposedly healthy food supplements.
Last year the Food Commission, which campaigns for safer, healthier food, found that many medicines for babies and children contain artificial colours, sweeteners and other additives. It seems that many supplements contain them, too.
In an analysis exclusively for the Mail, Dr Alex Richardson - a leading authority on the impact of nutrition on child behaviour and learning - assessed some of the leading brands of children's multi-vitamins.
As well as looking for products with the best levels of vitamins and minerals, she discovered that many supplements contain a wide range of additives. These are used to make the pills brightly coloured, chewy and extremely sweet so that they will appeal to children. Several best-selling children's supplements contain artificial colourings.
Sanatogen Kids A-Z strawberry flavour, for instance, has Ponceau 4R, and both strawberry and blackcur-rant flavoured Bassetts Soft & Chewy Vitamins A, C, D and E have Allura Red AC.
These are two of the additives the Foods Standards Agency recently warned parents to be careful about because of possible links with hyperactivity in children.
As Anna Glayzer of Action on Additives, a campaign set up by the Food Commission, said: "It is ridiculous that some supplement manufacturers choose to include entirely unnecessary ingredients that could affect susceptible children.
Source - Daily Mail