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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Kids and Vitamin D

By August 3, 2009

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Two new studies about kids and vitamin D are getting a lot of attention in the news today. These studies which were published in the electronic edition of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, basically say that millions of kids in the United States have low vitamin D levels and that having low vitamin D levels is bad for them.

This shouldn't be too much of a surprise to anyone though. Milk is one of the main sources of vitamin D for most kids, and it has been a growing trend for kids to not drink much milk each day. Another risk factor for low vitamin D levels was reported to be at least 3 to 4 hours of television and computer use each day, which many parents know their kids get.

The big surprise to parents from these studies is likely going to be the effects of low vitamin D levels, which can include high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, low calcium levels, low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), and rickets.

While studies about vitamin D always seem to generate some controversy because people think it will decrease the use of sunscreen and sunblock, that likely isn't the reason the kids in this study have vitamin D deficiency. It is more likely that they simply don't drink enough milk, don't take a vitamin D supplement, and don't spend any time outside.

Since the risks of low Vitamin D levels are well known, parents should try to reverse these trends by getting their kids to drink more milk or take a vitamin D supplement and decrease the hours of screen time they allow their kids.

Related:
Vitamin D Supplements for Kids
Vitamin D
Calcium Rich Foods
Sunscreen Myths and Facts

Comments
November 16, 2009 at 9:40 am
(1) Jen-X says:

You seem to strongly urge the consumption of milk, which is not a natural food for humans (lactose intolerance, allergies, wrong species, etc.). The Vitamin D in milk is added as a supplement. Why not urge parents to give children the supplement directly, or at least suggest Vitamin D fortified orange juice and soy milk? No cholesterol, no saturated fat, and easily digested.

February 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(2) irene says:

What is a good brand for a kid’s Vit D supplement. They are saying adults should take 2000-5000 iu – what is the correct amount for a six year old girl who weighs 43 pounds?

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