Research shows that young people do not have immune systems as efficient as adults. Not only may children be more prone to contact a viral infection, but they take more time to recover from it too1.

Children benefit from a diet that contains all the essential food groups to grow strong and healthy.

“Our immune system is a series of cells, tissues, and organs that, throughout our lifetime, protects us from different invading pathogens and keeps us healthy and able to resist many repeated infections,” said Dr Negar Ashouri, a paediatric infectious disease specialist at CHOC. “When babies are infants, they get immune cells from mom through the placenta and breast milk, if they are breastfeeding. Over time, the baby’s system becomes mature and can fight off infections. A healthy lifestyle that includes getting enough rest, low stress, and a balanced diet, plus exercise helps to strengthen the immune system in people of all ages.”2

“Breastfeeding is probably one of the best ways to help support a baby’s immune system when it’s developing,” explained Dr Ashouri. “Getting babies the recommended vaccines at the scheduled times also helps to protect them from the different infections they are at risk for at that age. We recommend that parents and children also get a flu shot each year and are up-to-date with their Tdap vaccine to protect kids from pertussis. The more people in the community who are vaccinated, the better it is for everyone. In pockets of areas where vaccine rates have fallen, there have been outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases.”2

NUTRITION & SUPPLEMENTS

Good nutrition is essential to developing and keeping the immune system healthy and strong. According to Unicef, children need the right foods at the right time to grow and develop to their full potential. “The most critical time for good nutrition is during the 1 000-day period from pregnancy until a child’s second birthday.”3

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend children should enjoy a wide variety of foods from these 5 food groups:

  • fruit
  • vegetables, legumes, and beans
  • cereals (including breads, rice, pasta, and noodles), preferably wholegrain
  • lean meat, fish, poultry, and/or alternatives
  • milks, yoghurts, cheeses, and/or alternatives4

Children should limit their intake of foods that contain saturated fat, added salt, or added sugar. They should also be encouraged to choose water to drink.4

While most kids should get the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy diet, the reality of the busy lives that we live today and the number of parents struggling to achieve regular well-rounded, home-cooked meals, is why many paediatricians recommend a daily multivitamin for children. Some of the more important vitamins and minerals for children include Vitamin A, the B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.5,6,7,8

 

REFERENCES:
  1. https://activehlth.com/childrens-immune-systems/
  2. https://www.choc.org/health-topics/kids-immune-system/
  3. https://www.unicef.org/nutrition/early-childhood-nutrition
  4. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/healthy-eating-for-children
  5. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/vitamins-for-kids-do-healthy-kids-need-vitamins
  6. https://healthy-kids.com.au/food-nutrition/nutrients-in-food/vitamins-minerals/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/best-vitamins-for-kids#who-needs-supplements
  8. http://www.southsummitpediatrics.com/blog/2018/7/11/whatare-the-most-important-vitamins-for-children