A study of preschool-age children living in Lincoln, Neb., found two-thirds of them deficient in vitamin E. Surprisingly, one-third of the children also weren't getting enough vitamin C, commonly found in such kid-friendly foods as orange juice.
Nutrition scientist Judy Driskell and her Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources colleagues tested 2- to 5-year-olds at four Lincoln day care centers. They drew blood samples from 22 ethnically diverse boys and girls to determine their vitamin E and C levels. Their parents also were interviewed to obtain dietary intakes for their children on two non-consecutive days.
The study found that the children deficient in either vitamin came equally from all ethnicities, genders and ages.
"I personally would recommend that young children receive a daily multivitamin-multimineral supplement that contains the recommended daily values," Driskell said. She recommends parents talk with their physician about whether their young children should take such a supplement.