Low vitamin D levels may be common in otherwise healthy children

Jul 09, 2007

Many otherwise healthy children and adolescents have low vitamin D levels, which may put them at risk for bone diseases such as rickets. African American children, children above age nine and with low dietary vitamin D intake were the most likely to have low levels of vitamin D in their blood, according to researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

A study in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition measured
blood levels of vitamin D in 382 healthy children between six years and 21 years of age living in the northeastern U.S. Researchers assessed dietary and supplemental vitamin D intake, as well as body mass, and found that more than half of the children had low blood levels of vitamin D. Of the subjects, 55 percent of the children had inadequate vitamin D blood levels and 68 percent overall had low blood levels of the vitamin in the wintertime.

“The best indicator of a person’s vitamin D status is the blood level of a vitamin D compound called 25-hydroxyvitamin D,” said Babette Zemel, Ph.D., a nutritional anthropologist at Children’s Hospital and primary investigator of this study. “Vitamin D deficiency remains an under-recognized problem overall, and is not well studied in children.”

Vitamin D is crucial for musculoskeletal health. The primary dietary source of the vitamin is fortified milk, but the best way to increase vitamin D levels is from exposure to sunshine. Severe deficits in vitamin D may lead to muscle weakness, defective bone mineralization and rickets. In addition to musculoskeletal effects, vitamin D is important for immune function, and low blood levels of the vitamin may contribute to diseases such as hypertension, cancer, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Decreased blood levels of vitamin D have also been linked to obesity.

Further study is needed to determine the appropriate blood levels of vitamin D in children, said Dr. Zemel, who added that a review of the current recommendations for vitamin D intake is needed.

Source: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Explore further: Non-smokers exposed to three times above safe levels of particles when living with smokers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A newborn supernova every night

2 minutes ago

Thanks to a $9 million grant from the National Science Foundation and matching funds from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) collaboration, a new camera is being built at Caltech's Palomar Observatory that ...

New data about marsh harrier distribution in Europe

6 minutes ago

The use of ringing recoveries —a conventional method used to study bird migration— in combination with more modern techniques such as species distribution modelling and stable isotope analysis helps to ...

NASA investigating deep-space hibernation technology

9 minutes ago

Manned missions to deep space present numerous challenges. In addition to the sheer amount of food, water and air necessary to keep a crew alive for months (or years) at a time, there's also the question ...

Surface properties command attention

12 minutes ago

Whether working on preventing corrosion for undersea oil fields and nuclear power plants, or for producing electricity from fuel cells or oxygen from electrolyzers for travel to Mars, associate professor ...

Superconducting circuits, simplified

12 minutes ago

Computer chips with superconducting circuits—circuits with zero electrical resistance—would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption ...

Recommended for you

Hospital acquisitions leading to increased patient costs

5 hours ago

The trend of hospitals consolidating medical groups and physician practices in an effort to improve the coordination of patient care is backfiring and increasing the cost of patient care, according to a new study led by the ...

Competition keeps health-care costs low, researchers find

5 hours ago

Medical practices in less competitive health-care markets charge more for services, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

User comments : 0