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U.S. Kids May Need More Vitamin D

Researchers Say Millions of Children May Get Too Little Vitamin D

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin continued...

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 vitamin D.

"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 cereals.

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