Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vitamin D and Kids

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finding that 7 in 10 kids have insufficient vitamin D levels is causing quite a stir. Previous studies had shown that many kids are vitamin D deficient, but this is the first one to show the magnitude of the problem. Low vitamin D levels in children can cause a higher risk of bone problems (vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium), high blood pressure, and other problems.

There are a couple of reasons for the vast number of children not getting enough D. Children are spending more time inside and not getting the sunshine they need to produce vitamin D naturally in their bodies. In addition, milk is often replaced by soda or juice at mealtime, leading to less vitamin D in the diet. The use of sunscreen may also be a factor. It is still appropriate to put sunscreen on your children, but a couple of times a week you need to allow children to get about 15 minutes of sunshine on their arms, legs or back before applying the sunscreen.

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