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HEADLINE STORY: Vitamin D deficiency in children hits 70 percent

Friday, August 21st, 2009

AUG. 21, 2009 — The largest group representing family physicians wants its members to know that 70 percent of American children are now considered vitamin D deficient, according to the government’s own data.

2009-08-21-d-is-for-kids-copy.jpgThe American Academy of Family Physicians sent that message to its members this week in a newsletter detailing a new study. “Seventy percent of American children are at increased risk for bone and heart disease because of low levels of vitamin D, according to a recent study,” AAFP wrote.

The group quoted lead researcher Dr. Michal Melamed, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, N.Y., in an interview posted on the university’s Web site. “In adults, there has been an increased interest in associations between low vitamin D levels and all sorts of cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, so we decided to look at this in children.”

The group looked at the same government data that earlier this year revealed 77 percent of American adults are vitamin D deficient, meaning their vitamin D levels are below 30 ng/ml. Vitamin D researchers today suggest vitamin D blood levels between 40-60 ng/ml, but consider any level below 30 ng/ml “deficient.”

“The researchers found that low vitamin D levels were most common in children who were older, female, non-Hispanic black, Mexican-American or obese; those who drank milk less than once a week; and those who spent more than four hours a day watching TV, playing video games or using computers,” AAFP wrote.

To read the story click here.