Lack of Vitamin D Makes Kids Fat

January 4, 2011 by iceslim  
Filed under Healthy diet


Kids deficient in Vitamin D accumulate more fat around their waist, and gain weight more rapidly than children getting adequate vitamin D; claims a new study.

Our skin converts ultraviolet light from the sun into vitamin D. Vitamin D acts like a hormone, and helps our bodies absorb calcium. That’s why vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.”

Poor diet, and too much time spent indoors, has created an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency worldwide, especially in developed nations. Not getting enough vitamin D, particularly in childhood, has been linked to rickets, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and dementia.

Research by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says lack of vitamin D may even contribute to cancer risk and type-2 diabetes.

For the new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists observed 479 school children, ages 5 to 12, from Bogota, Colombia, in 2006. Participants were followed for 30 months and had their blood level analyzed for vitamin D as it related to Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, and fat around their triceps.

Data showed children with the lowest vitamin D levels were more likely to gain weight faster, than children with higher levels of vitamin D. Low vitamin D was also linked to slower growth in height among girls, but not boys.

The researchers say the results highlight the importance of vitamin D intake, especially among young children. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, say for both children and adults, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women, vitamin D is important in order to prevent health problems.

In addition to sunlight and vitamin D supplements, fatty fish – such as salmon and mackerel – eggs, liver, mushrooms, and foods fortified with vitamins and minerals, such as milk, yogurt, bread, margarine, and some breakfast cereals, are good sources of vitamin D.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends visiting your doctor to test for vitamin D deficiency, and to determine whether supplements are needed.

Image credit: House of Sims

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