U.S. Kids May Need More Vitamin D
Researchers Say Millions of Children May Get Too Little Vitamin D
WebMD News Archive
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin
Mansbach says studies are needed to determine optimal blood levels of
vitamin D in children and how much vitamin D they should be taking to get to
Most children's multivitamins contain 400 IU of vitamin D, the minimum daily
amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
But Mansbach says most children probably need more than this, especially
darker-skinned children and those who live in colder climates with limited
exposure to the sun.
The body converts UV rays from the sun into vitamin D, and all agree that
sun exposure is the most efficient way to increase blood levels of the
But sun exposure also increases risk of skin cancer, and most dermatologists
and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children wear sunscreen
at all times while outside in the sun.
Children with darker skin also need much more exposure to the sun than
fair-skinned children to get adequate levels of vitamin D.
Longtime vitamin D research Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, of Boston University
School of Medicine, is a promoter of what he calls "sensible sun exposure."
He says the recommendation to wear sunscreen at all times when exposed to
the sun has led to widespread vitamin D deficiency in children and adults.
He says limited sun exposure during the summer -- as little as five minutes
a day on the arms and legs -- is more than adequate for producing enough
"This is still a controversial position, but the [medical community] is
coming around," Holick tells WebMD.
Foods that contain vitamin D include salmon, canned tuna, egg yolks, beef or
calf liver, cheese, and fortified sources such as milk, yogurt, and