On 24th October 2013, England’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies delivered her annual report, which said all children should be offered vitamin supplements to safeguard their health.
As a mother to a fussy 2 year old, who will just not eat his greens and an advocate for the benefits of taking vitamins and minerals to support a healthy lifestyle I was overjoyed to see that the government were not only acknowledging the growing problem with our nation’s children’s health but that they were also recommending changes.
It was no surprise to hear that up to 25% of children are vitamin D deficient, leading to a rise in rickets cases. We have all seen the Petit Filous adverts bringing this awareness to the masses by adding Vitamin D to their delicious yoghurts and further myself having been diagnosed with MS at the age of 28 was more so made aware of the problem of Vitamin D deficiency in this country as several studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in the risk of developing MS as well as many other chronic illnesses.
What did shock me however was to hear that as many as five more children aged up to 14 years die each day of avoidable causes than in Sweden and that 12.5% of toddlers are obese, as are 17% of boys and 16% of girls up to the age of 15.
I understand healthy eating is more expensive and time consuming, especially when our little darlings just want to live off fish fingers and pizza and say “no mummy” to that grated courgette on their pasta. We can all take the easy route and blame our workloads, our smaller purses or our child’s difficult tastes but if you stop and think about it, do you really want to be contributing to long term health issues and unhappiness as they battle obesity and other related illnesses as they get bigger?
It is yet to be seen whether the government will introduce free vitamins for little ones in the winter months, as such empowering parents to give their children an extra boost. In the meantime however I know I don’t feel as guilty when William has that “choc choc” treat knowing that he had a spoonful of Abidec that morning after his eggs and juice at least giving him a good start to the day.