The chief director of child, youth and school health at the national department of health, DrLesley Bamford, said children should not be on multivitamins in Covid-19 times unless they are undernourished.
“The immune function of children who are poorly nourished, due to either insufficient dietary intake of key nutrients or a poor overall diet quality, can be compromised and [they] are at greater risk of bacterial, viral and other infections.”
She said that, according to nutrition surveys conducted in SA, several micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent among vulnerable groups. The surveys found inadequate intakes of vitamin A (retinol), vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron and zinc.
“These and many other micronutrients, namely vitamin D and magnesium, are involved with the normal functioning of the body, including the immune system.
“These micronutrients are found in a variety of foods. It is important that children eat a well balanced diet that can help ensure the normal functioning of the immune system,” she said.