Vitamin D and Children

Thursday, November 03, 2011

About 70 percent of U.S. children have low levels of vitamin D, which puts them at higher risk for bone and heart disease. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about vitamin D and why its important for children to get proper levels in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Vitamin D helps protect your bones and helps your body use calcium. You can get vitamin D from sunlight or by eating certain foods. Fish, cheese and eggs are natural sources of vitamin D. In the United States, cereals, milk and many orange juices have vitamin D added to them.

Children with low vitamin D may not have any symptoms for a long time. Very low levels of vitamin D can cause irritability, tiredness, developmental delays or seizures. It can also cause rickets, which is when bones get weak and bend or break easily.

All infants, children, and adolescents need at least 400 IU of vitamin D daily. Infants who are fed formula most likely get enough vitamin D. Infants who are breastfed need extra vitamin D from supplement drops. Children and adolescents who drink less than 1 liter or quart of milk each day also need extra vitamin D.

Many childrens multivitamins have vitamin D in them. Check the label to be sure there is an adequate amount in each serving.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.