Survey Says Nearly Half of Parents Can’t Get Their Kids To Eat Healthy

The epidemic of picky eaters is very real.

kid diet picky eaters
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One of the big parenting struggles we have once our kids pass the newborn and toddler stage is trying to encourage our picky eaters to try new foods. It can be a very frustrated and slow process, but if that’s something you struggle with, you’re not alone. A new survey shows that nearly half of all parents report issues with their kids diet, including picky eaters and trying to get enough fruits and vegetables into their diet.

Ipsos Public Affairs conducted a survey on behalf of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to find out if or how parents are using dietary supplements for their children. The poll was administered in October 2021 to 1,251 randomly selected adults who were parents to at least one child between the ages of 1-18 years old who live in their household.

The questions were focused on the use of dietary supplements to increase the intake of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and other ingredients beyond what’s in their typical diet. The results show that a lot of parents are struggling with kids who are picky eaters and finding a “balanced diet” is hard for a lot of us.

Nearly have of the polled parents admit that they have a problem with their child’s diet. Thirty-five percent of parents admit their child is a picky eater, while 31 percent say their kids aren’t eating enough vegetables and fruits. Getting other vitamins and minerals was an issue for 13 percent of parents, and 9 percent admit that their kids don’t get enough fiber in their kid’s diet each day.

“Over half of parents (58 percent) agree that it is hard to get their child to eat a balanced diet, while 47 percent agree that it is expensive to feed their child a healthy diet,” the survey results read. When parents struggle to get their kids to eat a balanced diet that has all the vitamins and minerals needed to build and grow, they’re turning to supplements instead of diet changes.

“Among parents who feel their child does not eat a well-balanced diet, 51 percent have their child regularly take a dietary supplement,” the survey shows. “While among parents who feel their child eats a well-balanced diet, 53 percent have them regularly take a supplement.” Dietary supplements were more likely to be used by parents who have higher-income (>$100,000) than parents in lower-income (<$50,000) households.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), healthy kids who are “receiving a normal, well-balanced diet do not need vitamin supplementation over and above the recommended dietary allowances.”

The AAP “strongly” recommend parents speak to their kid’s doctor before adding any supplements, reminding parents that vitamins and supplements aren’t regulated the same way medication is. Which, according to this new study, only 47 percent of parents reported a discussion with their child’s doctor happened before adding in supplements.