(Aug. 3) — About 70 percent of U.S. children have low levels of vitamin D, which puts them at higher risk for bone and heart disease, researchers said today.
“We expected the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency would be high, but the magnitude of the problem nationwide was shocking,” said Dr. Juhi Kumar of Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center.
Cases of rickets, a bone disease in infants caused by low vitamin D levels, have also been increasing, other research shows.
The cause? Poor diet and lack of sunshine, the researchers conclude today in the online version of the journal Pediatrics.
The researchers analyzed data on more than 6,000 children, ages 1 to 21, collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004.
The researchers found that 9 percent, or 7.6 million children across the country, were vitamin D deficient and another 61 percent, or 50.8 million, were vitamin D insufficient.
© Imaginova Corp. All rights reserved. 2009-08-03 12:52:51