Lack of Vitamin D Rampant in Infants, Teens

USA Today—June 16, 2008

Vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to flimsier bones that may fracture easily, has become a new health risk for a surprisingly young demographic.

For years, doctors have been aware that older people tend to be low in vitamin D and need extra supplements to help keep bones strong, says Lisa Callahan, co-director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. But recent studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency has become a rising problem amongst younger and younger patients.

In order to treat the deficiency, doctors are prescribing those affected with a vitamin D regime that includes eating foods that are rich in the vitamin, like fish and enriched dairy produces, and taking supplements.

Current recommendations by the Institute of Medicine suggest 200 IUs of vitamin D a day for children and 400 IUs for adults, but Callahan, who serves on an institute committee that aims to update those guidelines, says she suggests higher levels to many of her patients, at least 800 to 1,000 IUs a day.

Along with supplements and diet, doctors are also recommending 15 minutes of direct sunlight per day in order to activate the photosensitive compounds within vitamin D.

View the full story on USA Today.com.

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