U.S. Children Low in Vitamin D

Many children in the United States have low vitamin D levels raising their risk for bone problems, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other health problems, according to a study released earlier this week. The study was done at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in the Bronx.

Most children don't get enough vitamin D from the sun or from food.

Most children don’t get enough vitamin D from the sun or from food.

Vitamin D deficiency was thought to be rare in the United States. Deficiency is defined as less than 15 ng/mL of blood, and insufficiency is defined as 15-29 ng/mL. The researchers found that 9 percent of children in the study (7.6 million) were vitamin D deficient and 60 percent (50.8 million)were vitamin D insufficient.

My thoughts are that the problem is even worse than this study shows, because the researchers are considering any level over 30 ng/mL to be sufficient. Optimal vitamin D levels, in my opinion, are actually more in the? range of 50-60 ng/mL.

The new finding adds to the growing evidence that children, as well as many adults,? have vitamin D levels that are too low. “No one had examined this issue nationwide,” said Dr. Michal L. Melamed, the lead researcher of the study.

It is believed that vitamin D levels have declined over the last 20 years because children are not spending as much time outdoors as they used to. The widespread use of sunscreens has only compounded the problem, as their application blocks beneficial UVB rays.

Just 15-20 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen during the summer months should be enough for most children to maintain proper vitamin D levels. Sunscreen shouldn’t be applied until after they’ve been out in the sun for about 10 minutes, unless they burn very easily.

Since it is very difficult to obtain vitamin D from dietary sources alone, supplementation is advised during the winter months. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that infants, children, and teenagers should take at least 400 IU of vitamin D per day.

Nancy Hirsch VisiVite.Com Certified Nutritionist

Nancy Hirsch,? VisiVite.Com Certified Nutritionist

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