Most US kids suffer from vitamin D deficiency
Seven out of every 10 American children suffer from vitamin D deficiency, a condition that places them at an increased risk of bone and heart diseases.
According to a study published in Pediatrics, the majority of US children do not have sufficient serum levels of the sunshine vitamin, adding that these children are more prone to having high blood pressure, low calcium and good cholesterol levels.
While nine percent of the studied children were classified as "vitamin D deficient" -- having a serum concentration less than 15 ng/mL, the other 61% were "vitamin D insufficient" -- having vitamin D levels between 15 and 29 ng/mL.
Deficiency was more prevalent among older children, girls, the obese, those who drank milk less than once a week and those who spent more than four hours a day in front of the TV, computer or video screen.
Compared to white children, non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans were also found to be more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
Scientists therefore urged parents to help their children get enough vitamin D by making them spend at least 15 to 20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen rather than giving them mega-doses of vitamin D supplements.
They added that multivitamins containing 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin D can also be helpful especially in winter months, stressing that taking too much of the vitamin may lead to kidney stones and other kidney problems.