Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Kids' Bones at Risk From Low Vitamin D

Not Enough Milk and Sunlight May Put Children's Bones at Risk of Disease
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 9, 2007 -- Hours of playing video games and drinking sodas instead of milk may be putting children's bones at risk from low vitamin D levels.

A new study shows more than half of otherwise healthy children have low vitamin D levels in their blood, which may put them at risk for bone diseases, like rickets.

Vitamin D-fortified milk is the main source of vitamin D in the diet, but the vitamin is also produced within the body as a result of sunlight exposure.

That's why researchers say those low vitamin D levels may reflect current trends of children spending less time outdoors and drinking less milk than in the past.

Severely low levels of vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness, bone weakness, and rickets. Earlier studies -- cited by the researchers -- show that vitamin D also plays an important role in immune system function.

Vitamin D and Kids

In the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers analyzed blood levels of vitamin D in 382 healthy children from ages 6 to 21.

They found 55% of the children had lower than recommended vitamin D levels.

African-American children, children over age 9, and those who didn't get much vitamin D in their diet were the most likely to have low levels of the vitamin in their blood.

Vitamin D levels also dropped during winter. Overall, 68% of children had inadequate stores of the vitamin in their blood during the colder months when they spent more time indoors.

"Vitamin D deficiency remains an under-recognized problem overall, and is not well studied in children," says researcher Babette Zemel, PhD, a nutritional anthropologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, in a news release.

Zemel says more study is needed to determine appropriate blood levels of vitamin D in children, and a review of current recommendations for vitamin D intake may be needed.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration