Vitamin D Deficiency Prevalent in Young Children

June 4, 2008

Vitamin D deficiency is common among infants and toddlers, and may be associated with demineralization, according to two studies published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. But calls for routine supplementation may be premature, according to an accompanying editorial.

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D deficiency is common among infants and toddlers, and may be associated with demineralization, according to two studies published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. But calls for routine supplementation may be premature, according to an accompanying editorial.

In one study, Catherine M. Gordon, M.D., of Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues assessed 365 healthy infants and toddlers during routine office visits. They found that 44 (12.1 percent) of the children were vitamin D deficient and that 146 (40 percent) had sub-optimal levels of vitamin D. Among subjects who were vitamin D deficient, they found that 13 (32.5 percent) had evidence of demineralization.

In a second study, Alisha J. Rovner, Ph.D., of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and colleagues reviewed 14 studies published in the past 10 years. They found that estimates of sub-optimal levels of vitamin D among healthy children ranged from 1 percent to 78 percent, and they identified infants who were breast-fed during the winter months and did not receive vitamin D supplementation as the most severely vitamin D-deficient group. Other factors associated with lower vitamin D levels included older age, higher body mass index, black race/ethnicity and elevated parathyroid hormone concentrations.

"Future research is needed to determine whether infants and toddlers with vitamin D levels of 20 ng/mL or lower are at significant short- or long-term risk for other bone disease or different conditions," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "Pending this research, the recommendations by Gordon et al. that all young children should receive vitamin D supplementation and that children with risk factors should have periodic vitamin D levels obtained may be premature."

Abstract - GordonFull TextAbstract - RovnerFull TextEditorial

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