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Friday, May 08, 2009

One Third of Canadian Toddlers Are Vitamin D Deficient

I've posted that teens and adults are not getting sufficient vitamin D. But toddlers? Don't toddlers, you know, drink milk?

Apparently not enough, according to the TARGet Kids! (Toronto Area Research Group) study, a cross-sectional population-based dietary survey and clinical examination of Canadian toddlers. Medscape reporter Martha Kerr wrote that the study found 82% of the toddlers had vitamin D insufficiency and 32% were outright deficient.

You'd never guess what the risk factors were. OK, you'd probably guess if you've been awake at any time in the past decade. Snacking while tv watching and not enough milk drinking are the major culprits.

Low milk consumption "was independently associated with low vitamin D levels," Dr. [Jonathon Maguire, MD, a Fellow in the Division of Pediatric Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto in Ontario] told Medscape Pediatrics. There was a 1 nmol/L increase in 25-OH vitamin D level for every ounce of milk consumed (P = .006).

High body mass index (BMI) was associated with vitamin D deficiency, with a 4.7 nmol/L decrease in 25-OH vitamin D level per BMI unit (P = .0009). "This may be associated with a higher fat content of the body," he commented. "Drinking more milk is not associated with a higher BMI, as some people think. In fact, the opposite is true."

TV viewing while snacking was also associated with vitamin D deficiency; the level is 9.6 nmol/L lower if the child watches TV while snacking (P = .022). "This might be related to more time spent indoors, a poorer nutritional intake, low levels of physical exercise ... or a combination of such factors, indicating an unhealthy lifestyle," Dr. Maguire commented.

Doctors are encouraged to screen children for these health risks, especially for drinking less than 12 ounces of a milk a day.

The study doesn't say, but for the sake of vegans I'd recommend a milk alternative that gives the equivalent calcium and vitamin to regular cow's milk.

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