Students should be able to define medicine. Students should know that improper use of medicines could be dangerous.
Vitamin and mineral supplements have been classified by the FDA as dietary supplements. However, because they can be dangerous, caution should be used when taking them as when taking medicine.
Teacher will assess:
Pictures of vitamin and mineral supplements including children's vitamins.
We have been discussing the importance of vitamins and minerals for the body. Vitamins and minerals are important substances because they help the body to grow and develop properly. They also support the body's immune system and assist in repairing the body after infection or injury.
Vitamins and minerals are found naturally in the foods that we eat. In most cases, when a healthy diet is followed, the body receives enough of each of the 13 vitamins and at least 15 minerals that it needs. The students heard examples of vitamins and minerals, what foods they come from, and what purpose they serve. For example, vitamin A is found in carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, and other fruits and vegetables. It helps people to have good eyesight, including seeing in color! It also helps keep skin healthy and helps the body to grow.
The students learned that sometimes, when people do not have healthy food to eat, they may not satisfy the body's need for vitamins and minerals. When the body does not get the amount that it needs, it may not function well. Deficiency diseases may also develop. A deficiency disease is a disease caused by low levels of a particular vitamin or mineral. For example, if the body doesn't get enough of a mineral called iron, anemia can develop. Anemia is a disease where the blood is not able to bring the right amount of oxygen to all parts of the body. Anemia can make people very tired and weak. In these cases or when people don't get all of the vitamins and minerals they need even if they eat healthy food, people may take a vitamin or mineral supplement. These supplements, which are found as pills, powders or liquids, are commonly referred to simply as vitamins (or multivitamins).
Many different groups of people may take supplements including pregnant women, babies and children, elderly people, people with other diseases, etc. While supplements are meant to maintain health, it is important to remember that supplements can be dangerous if they are not used properly. For this reason, the students learned that they should treat vitamin and mineral supplements as they would treat medicine. Taking too much of a vitamin or mineral can cause damage to the body and even death. The students recognized the resemblance of children's vitamin supplements to candy. They discussed the danger of a child mistaking supplements for candy. Combining everything they learned and discussed, the students worked, in groups, to create What We Know About Vitamins and Minerals signs. They shared these signs and their knowledge with each other and with other classes throughout the school.
Please discuss this topic with your child. Look for vitamin and mineral information on nutrition labels on foods. Read the safety warnings on the labels of vitamin and mineral supplements together. Finally, as with medicines, keep vitamin and mineral supplements in your home out of reach of children. For more information, please visit www.kidshealth.org and search for vitamins or minerals.
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