A new Canadian study has found alarmingly low levels of the important vitamin D in young children. While newborns tend to be OK if they are fed formula, which is usually fortified with vitamin D, as they grow into eating solid foods, that’s where the problems begin.
“Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a number of chronic medical conditions,” says Jonathon Maguire, a researcher at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and lead author of the study.
Research has linked vitamin D deficiencies to many cancers, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes.
Of the 92 children in the Canadian study, the researchers found that the children who drank less milk, watched TV while snacking, or were “hefty” tended to have the worst vitamin D levels.
While milk is fortified with vitamin D, it alone will not provide sufficient levels. Oily fish is a good source of the vitamin, but since young children don’t often eat fish, supplementation may be needed.
Moderate sun exposure is a good way to increase levels of vitamin D. This too is difficult for the children in the study as they reside in Canada where, due to the high latitude, there is not sufficient sun throughout the year.
(via: The Globe and Mail)
May 7th, 2009