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August 3, 2009

Study: 7 in 10 kids need more vitamin D

vitamin D deficiencyA new study out today suggests that 7 out of 10 children in the U.S. have low levels of vitamin D, raising their risk for bone and heart disease.

The findings, in what appears to be largest study to date of children and vitamin D, seemed to surprise even the researchers. In sheer numbers, the study published online in the journal Pediatrics suggests that 7.6 million children have a vitamin D deficiency while 50.8 million more have levels considered insufficient.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that children take vitamin D supplements of 400 IU a day.

But only 4 percent of those in the study were taking it. (Those numbers could be higher today. The data dates from a national survey done from 2001 to 2004.)

Vitamin D is called the "sunshine vitamin," because much of our intake comes from the sun's rays. But with children spending less time outside and usually being slathered with sunscreen when they are there, vitamin D levels have been dropping for years.

Those who are more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D were older children, non-Hispanic blacks, Mexican Americans, those born outside the United States, obese children and those who spent more time watching television, playing video games or using the computer. In contrast, those who drank milk daily and those who took supplements were more likely to have adequate vitamin D levels.

Baltimore Sun photo

Posted by Stephanie Desmon at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Pediatrics

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

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