News Update: Low vitamin D levels common in children

November 1, 2009

A new study has demonstrated that millions of US children may have low levels of vitamin D.

As research on the relationship between vitamin D and various medical conditions continues to expand, a new study has demonstrated that millions of US children may have low levels of vitamin D.

In a study included in the November 2009 issue of Pediatrics, researchers analyzed data from children aged 1 to 11 years who were included in the 2001–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Serum vitamin D levels were assessed through radioimmunoassay. The mean serum level of vitamin D in this patient population was 70 nmol/L; children aged 6 to 11 years had lower mean levels (68 nmol/L) than did those aged 1 to 5 years (74 nmol/L). Serum vitamin D levels <75 nmol/L were more prevalent in girls than in boys and in non-Hispanic black and Mexican American children than in non-Hispanic white children.

These results suggest that millions of children across the United States may have suboptimal levels of vitamin D. The authors pointed out that more studies are needed both to clarify the potential health implications of low vitamin D levels and to determine the appropriate vitamin D supplement requirements for children.