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Data show that children engage in complementary health practices. Data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey showed that among children aged 4-17, use of selected practices, such as yoga and meditation, increased during the past 12 months. The survey also showed that girls’ use of yoga was more than twice that of similarly aged boys. If you’re considering taking up one or more of these practices, it’s a good idea to talk with your physician about it. Tell your child's health care providers about any complementary or integrative approach you are considering or using for your child. The survey data revealed that older children (aged 12-17) were more likely to have used meditation and a chiropractor in the past 12 months than younger children (aged 4-11 years). 

Many children also take dietary supplements, and most of these products are not recommended by a health care provider. In a 2013 analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers found that 31 percent of children reported using dietary supplements during the past month (the majority of these were multivitamin-mineral or multivitamin products) primarily to improve overall health.  

Some supplements consumed by children/teens include those promoted for weight loss, muscle building, and energy, and potentially have greater health risks than vitamins. Taking too much of some supplements, such as vitamins A or D, can have unwelcome side effects.  

Finally, it’s important to realize that vaccines help protect infants, children, and teens from serious diseases. Additionally, getting children vaccinated protects others and can keep other family members from getting sick.i


i Vaccines for infants, children, and teens.

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NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.

Last Updated: March 2019