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Vitamin D Deficiency - August 3, 2009 by admin

Well, as if obesity was not enough of a problem for our children, the Journal of Pediatrics has now revealed that 70 percent of America’s children are deficient in Vitamin D. Experts say that low levels of vitamin D may increase a child’s risk of developing heart disease as an adult.

Vitamin D is referred to frequently as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body can produce it only when exposed to sunshine. It takes only about 15 minutes a day to make enough vitamin D. This should be done without sunscreen, but only for 15 minutes without sunscreen so as not to be over-exposed to the harmful rays.

Those most at risk for a deficiency in vitamin D were older,female, obese and consumed milk less than once a week. African-american females are most at risk because the melanin in the skin prevents the skin from absorbing as much vitamin D.

The sedentary lifestyle of our youth has also contributed to this. Those who spend 4 hours or more a day watching television or playing video games or on a computer are also at risk.

In a study done by the researchers at Johns Hopkins University, over 3500 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were investigated and those with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels ( a condition that is a precursor for diabetes) and high blood pressure than those with normal levels, despite their weight.

Parents should be pro-active and adopt the three-pronged aproach suggested by Dr. Melamed ofcAlbert Einstein College of Medicine. This approach includes a well-balanced diet, vitamin supplements that include vitamin D, and 15 minutes of sun exposure daily- without sunscreen, but being careful to apply the sunscreen after the 15 minutes. If a child is in a group that is at high risk for deficiency (older, female, obese, drank milk less than once a week, and spent more than four hours a day watching TV, playing video games, or working on a computer, or darker complexioned) they should be screened to check for low levels of vitamin D.