How To Combat Vitamin D Deficiency In Children.

As if we didn't have enough to worry about during this cold and flu season, an alarming and disturbing trend has arisen - the widespread vitamin-D deficiency seen in young children and teens.

Known as the essential, life-saving vitamin, vitamin-D deficiency is on a steady rise and has been known to put its young victims at risk for health problems such as poor muscle strength, growth retardation, heart disease, rickets, weak bones, or autoimmune diseases.

This raises two vital questions. Just how widespread is this deficiency, and what are some ways to combat vitamin-D deficiency in our children?

* What The Statistics Show.

According to a 2009 CBS World News Report, at least one in five U.S. children from the ages one to eleven do not get a sufficient amount of vitamin-D. As mentioned above, this deficiency is not just limited to young children.

Researchers in the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College published in their March issue of the Journal Pediatrics, that about one in seven teens suffer from vitamin-D deficiency as well.

* How Do I Know If My Child Has A Vitamin-D Deficiency?

The most accurate way to determine whether or not your child has a vitamin-Ddeficiency is through the 25-hydroxy vitamin-D test preformed by your child's pediatrician.

There are some red flags you can look for though that may signal such a problem.

According to the Website Healthy Holistic Living, "Vitamin-D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, (which may exhibit itself through increased colds) depression, mood swings, and sleep irregularities."

Depending on the severity; vitamin-D deficiency causes the bones to soften and leads to bone disorders. In children, the most visible sign of severe vitamin-D deficiency is bowed arms and legs.

* How Do I Know If My Child Is At Risk?

There are several factors that can raise your child's risk of acquiring vitamin-D deficiency.

Here are several risk factors as found at WebMd:

  • Over Time, Your Child Doesn't Consume the Recommended Levels of the Vitamin. Since most natural sources of vitamin-D are derived from animal-based foods such as fish, fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver, for children who suffer from food allergies, their diet may put them at risk of a vitamin-D deficiency.
  • Your Child Has Limited Sunlight Exposure. Your body gets its best source of vitamin-D through sunlight. So if your child is home-bound, lives in northern latitudes, or wears long layers of clothing, then they too may be at risk.
  • Your Child Has Dark Skin. The pigment melanin (found in dark skin) reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin-D in response to sunlight exposure.
  • Your Child's Digestive Tract Cannot Adequately Absorb Vitamin-D. Medical problems including celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn's disease can affect your child's intestine's ability to absorb vitamin-D from the foods they consume.
  • Other Children At Risk: 1.) Older children, 2.) Girls, 3.) Obese children, and 4.) Children who spent more than four hours a day watching TV, playing video games, or using computers.

* How Do I Help My Child Combat This Vitamin D Deficiency?

1.) WebMD suggests: "many people (especially those living in the Southern United States) can get enough vitamin-D by getting about 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on their arms and face a few times a week - as long as they don't use sunscreen, which blocks some of the UV rays necessary to make the vitamin". So get your kids outside for some fun and sun.

2.) In the event you live in an area where sun exposure is hard to come by, or your child wears long layers of clothing that prevents direct sun exposure, have them consume foods that naturally contain vitamin-D (although this list is not very extensive) or foods and juices that are vitamin-D fortified, and administer vitamin-D supplements.

It is vital to note, that while vitamin-D is found in foods such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver, experts say fortified foods such as milk (for those suffering from lactose intolerance, milk and cheese made from soy are fortified with vitamin-D as well) and orange juice are the best sources.

* How Much Vitamin-D Is Needed?

It has been recommend by the American Academy of Pediatrics, that children get at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin-D a day.

For infants - Just D Infant Vitamin Drops is a great choice since it's a single-entity vitamin-D (meaning that all you get is vitamin-D; no other vitamin is included), and is practically tasteless.

For kids - Lil Critters Gummy Calcium with Vitamin-D (all natural colors and flavors) and Vita-Saurus children's chewable multi-vitamins will provide your little ones with the daily amount of vitamin-D necessary for proper growth and good health.

For kids following a gluten-free diet - Nature's Plus, Source of Life - Animal Parade provides several tasty brands of gluten-free, vegetarian, hypo-allergenic, children's chewable multi-vitamins with whole food concentrates that provide the recommend vitamin-D daily value for kids (this happens to be my personal favorite- since my toddlers love the taste, it's free of artificial colors and preservatives, and free from the common allergens yeast, wheat, soy, and milk).

For teens - MVTEEN by Futurebiotics offers a multivitamin targeted for teens that contains the daily recommended amount of vitamin-D.

In addition to these multi-vitamins, Arctic Cod Liver Oil (form the company Nordic Naturals) produces a superior supplement that provides the purest and the best tasting fish oil with only naturally occurring vitamin-A and D.

Although this supplement can be given everyday; due to its price; I tend to give it regularly to my toddlers during the winter months only, or when they fall ill.

It's a sad fact; vitamin-D deficiency is quickly on the rise. Nevertheless, with these simple tips you can combat this deficiency in your child, ensuring that he/she stays healthy now and in the future.

copyright © 2009

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Comments 35 comments

Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you so much Hello, hello for such a speedy comment. Many times, the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can easily go undetected, so it's important for parents to know who's at risk and the red flags associated with it. When in doubt, ask your child's doctor to test him or her.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thanks for a very well written and informative hub, thank you for sharing it. Blessings to you. creativeone59


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks so much for stopping by creativeone59. I glad you found this informative.


Mezo profile image

Mezo 6 years ago from Egypt

good article, important info

thanks :)


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you Mezo for stoppng by. I hope parents and gaurdians take something away from this.


high protein snacks 6 years ago

I had no idea that you could 'take' vitamin D. I had heard you only got it from the sun but I guess that's rubbish!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes high protein snacks, there are vitamin D supplements available on the market today. Nevertheless, the best form of vitamin-D, and the purest is getting it from the sun. Thanks for stopping by.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California

Very, very good, as stated vitamin D is highly important, and more parents should be made aware of it. This is one of those articles that should make page one of Google. I think that I will Digg and Stumble Upon this one.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks for the vote of confidence fastfreta. My interest was peaked concerning this subject when I was at my children's pediatrican's office and watching their medical channel. It's amazing how many children suffer with this deficiency and the parents don't even know it. I suspected my girls might have been somewhat, since they are on a restricted diet, and kept getting colds in quick recessions when they had never gotten back to back colds before. It made me alert as to wether or not I was giving them enough or not, and so I always check their multivitamins to see if they provide the recommended daily allowance, as well as ensure they get at least 10 to 15 minutes out in the sun (unfeathered by sunblock or clothes or hats that sheild them from it). During the winter when it's harder to get more sun, I add on the cod liver oil that I mentioned in the hub along with their daily vitamins. Thanks for stopping by.


Miss Nasreen profile image

Miss Nasreen 6 years ago

Thanks you provide good information thanks again so nice to meet you


bozzie123 profile image

bozzie123 6 years ago

thanks for the info, might have to invest in some of that teen stuff :)


writer83 profile image

writer83 6 years ago from Cyber Space

I also use seven seas chewable multivitamins,the kids seem to love them. Great article :)


culinarycaveman profile image

culinarycaveman 6 years ago from Dem Woods, Sussex, England

You are right to look at diet as being the root of many of our childrens ailments, Vit D sure is up there but it is all complicated by there being dietary deficiencies of so many essential nutrients.

Good hubs, shall browse some more . . thanks


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to stop by, read this hub, and leave comments.

Miss Nasreen - I'm glad you found this informative, it's nice to meet you as well.

Bozzie123 - I hope the M.V. teen vitamins work out.

writer83 - thanks for the sugesstion and the complement.

culinarycaveman - I agree, most of the vitamin dificiencies experienced through children are due to their diets. Please feel free to peruse - any constructive feedback is welcome.


marygarrison profile image

marygarrison 6 years ago

Thank you, Veronica, for your interesting, and helpful, hub. I found it especially concerning the part about electronics (TV, video games, and computer) usage placing kids at risk, for a vitamin D deficiency. I am a firm believer in the value of routinely taking a multi-vitamin.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks marygarrison for stopping by. While doing research, I too was concerned over the fact that kids who spend more than four hours a day watching television, using the computer ..etc. are at danger for this deficiency. I think it has to do with the fact that they there may be a tendency for them to spend more time inside instead of outside getting the benefits of the sun. Whether there's more to that or not, I don't think so. It is worthy doing more research on however. Much like yourself, I too feel it's vital to take a multi-vitamin, and I'm pretty faithful about giving my children one and taking one myself.


LaVieja profile image

LaVieja 6 years ago from London

Thank you, very informative.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You're very welcome LaVieja. Thank you for stopping by. From your profile I see you just joined Six days ago, so welcome to hubpages.


4everfitness profile image

4everfitness 6 years ago

Agree, big time. Life without Vitamin D is a pain. Great article.

http://www.foreverfitness.info


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks 4everfitness for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the article. I'll be sure to check out your site.


ClaudiaP profile image

ClaudiaP 6 years ago from California

Great hub! I've also read that older people with low blood levels of vitamin D are more likely to be depressed or get the "winter blues".


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks ClaudiaP for stopping by. I myself have suffered from the "winter blues", and with a combination of more artifical light in my home, and upping my intake in Viamin D does help.


massagetherapy profile image

massagetherapy 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

Interesting hub. Fortunately we live close to the beach so most mornings I take my little son for a sandcastle building session and a swim in the surf, while the Sun is still gentle. He's getting a healthy dose of vitamin D every day and is just thriving. Thanks for sharing.


minzako profile image

minzako 6 years ago

Thank for sharing good information

You got a great Hub

Thank


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you massagetherapy and minzako for stopping by.

Massagetherapy - that sounds so lovely - morninings building sandcastles and swimming with your son - now that's the life. What a fun way to get the vitamin D he needs.

Minzako - I'm glad you liked the hub. Thanks for leaving a comment.


Hub Llama profile image

Hub Llama 6 years ago from Denver, CO

Good info. I was surprised when our pediatrician said that for the time we were breast feeding our son exclusively that he should be getting a Vitamin D supplement. I guess babies don't go out in the sun like they did long ago.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

My pediatrican told me the same thing when I was exclusively breastfeeding my two as well. Thanks for stopping by Hub Llama.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Great info here! I hope lots of moms read it!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I hope so too habee. Thanks for stopping by.


masmasika 6 years ago

This is an interesting hub. This is very helpful especially those with kids.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you masmasika for stopping by. I do hope this hub is helpful to many parents.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

This is so absolutely necessary. It is why we must take our children out to get some sunshine! Thanks so much for this reminder. And for someone like me with brown skin I need sun - which it turn keeps away so many ailments. In fact I am convinced I should be living outdoors. But alas our lives require us to be indoors most of the time.

As always - rated up! Yay!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks BkCreative - I agree. Unfortunately we have been stuck indoors for several days now and I sorely miss our time in the sun playing kick ball with my little ones. I can't wait for the weather to clear up. I love how the sun makes me feel - happy with a sense of wellbeing. Thanks for the rating.


thepostnatal 4 years ago

waw!! very useful information... I like all symptoms of Vit D


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you thepostnatal.

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