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Study reveals that Millions of US children do not get Enough Vitamin D

Most people are quite aware of the fact that vitamin supplements are a great idea to support the overall health and wellbeing of children and young adolescents. However, one of the vitamins that is sometimes overlooked is Vitamin D, a vitamin that is essential for bone health and may offer additional protection against childhood coughs and colds.

Children should be able to get all the Vitamin D they need from exposure to sunlight, but the lifestyle of many of today’s children and teens means that they simply do not spend enough time outside to gain the maximum benefits.

A new study recently published has revealed that levels of Vitamin D found amongst US children have indeed now fallen below what is considered medically acceptable, and that the situation amongst African American and Hispanic children is particularly dire.

The latest research was conducted by Jonathan Mansbach, MD and his team who are based at Children’s Hospital Boston. They used data culled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which encompasses medical data about approximately 5,000 children from across the United States and was collected between 2001-2006.

Taking the current recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children and teens maintain a 50 nmol/L level of Vitamin D in their system to be considered healthy the researchers found that approximately 20% of US children will fall below this guideline score and in the case of Hispanic children that figure rises to an astonishing 82%. The outlook is even worse for non Hispanic black children as the research suggests that 92% suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.

There are those who disagree with the APA guidelines, saying that other research in adults has suggested that 75 nmol/L is a more reasonable level to ensure good health. Should this eventually turn out to be the case then the picture is even grimmer. Says lead author of the study Mansbach “If 75 nmol/L or higher is eventually demonstrated to be the healthy normal level of vitamin D, then there is much more vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. than people realize”

The researchers conclude their report by recommending that all children and teens take a Vitamin D supplement on a daily basis to ensure that their bodies have enough Vitamin D to maintain healthy growth. It is especially crucial they note for those who live in high altitudes where sunlight is scarce in winter.

Published on 11-06-2009
Source: Monday, October 26th, 2009