Many American children fail to meet adequate vitamin D and calcium intake

November 14, 2012

A new data analysis says that over one-third of American children are not meeting dietary recommendations for vitamin D and calcium, even with the use of supplements.

The study calculated micronutrient intake data from 7,250 children aged between 2 and 18 years (1). The results showed that although many children received supplements (21% of under two-year olds, 42% of children between 2 and 8 years, 29% of those between 9 and 13 years, and 26% between 14 and 18) the intakes of calcium and vitamin D were low for all children: more than one-third of children failed to meet calcium and vitamin D intake recommendations. In addition, children that did not use supplements had a significantly higher prevalence of inadequate magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A and C intake, compared with supplement users. On the other hand, supplement use was associated with an increased prevalence of intakes above the recommended upper limit (UL).

The researchers commented that dietary supplement manufacturers should better tailor the levels of micro-nutrients in supplements to help achieve a balance between adequate nutrient intake and intakes above the UL. A solution may be modest fortification and personalized supplementation.


  1. Bailey R. L. et al. Do dietary supplements improve micronutrient sufficiency in children and adolescents? The Journal of Pediatrics. 2012; 161(5):837–842.