Children's vitamins have no more nutritional value than sweets, say scientists

Children's vitamins contain such a low level of nutrition that they are little better than sweets, researchers have found.

The Telegraph | August 20, 2008
By Lucy Cockcroft

Many supplements marketed at the younger generations have only a "tiny proportion" of the goodness needed by children.

Parents have been advised that their money would be better spent providing a healthy balanced diet which will supply a better source of vitamins.

Kate Neil, of the Centre for Nutrition Education, who did the research with London's Westminster University, said: "Parents need to be aware that a lot of the supplements for children contain only a very small number of vitamins.

"They look like sweets, taste like sweets and in a sense they are sweets."

The study found only five out of 14 brands of supplements contained all 12 essential vitamins. Some had only four.

A panel of researchers also analysed fish oil and Omega 3 capsules, linked to better school performance.

But they found that many of both types contained very low levels of the recommended daily dose.

Miss Neil said some capsules had so little Omega 3 they were "unlikely" to provide any real benefit.

The research, commissioned by pricing website, found that the best supplement products were Animal Chews by Holland and Barrett and Kids A-Z by Sanatogen.

Among the worst was Bassett's Soft and Chewy Omega 3.

However, a spokesman for Bassett's insisted its products were "fully tested and popular".