CDC: Babies Don't Get Enough Vitamin D
Just 1% to 13% of Infants Are Given Supplements
WebMD News Archive
March 22, 2010 -- As few as one in five formula-fed babies and one in 20
breastfed babies are getting as much vitamin
D in their diets as the nation's leading pediatricians' group now calls
for, the CDC says.
In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommended daily
intake of the vitamin for infants and children from 200 to 400 international
units (IU) a day.
But according to the CDC estimate, only 5% to 13% of breastfed infants and
20% to 37% of formula-fed babies are getting enough vitamin D to meet the new
CDC researchers analyzed data from a nationwide survey of infant feeding practices
conducted between 2005 and 2007 to estimate how many babies were getting enough
vitamin D in their diets during their first year of life.
The investigation found vitamin D supplementation to be quite low, even
among exclusively breastfed babies.
Just 1% to 4% of the formula-fed babies and 5% to 13% of babies getting only
breast milk were receiving vitamin D supplements.
Because breast milk contains very low levels of vitamin D, supplementation
Babies who drink 34 ounces (1 liter) a day of formula get enough of the
vitamin to meet the new recommendations. But only a third of the babies in the
survey drank this much formula, says the CDC’s Cria G. Perrine, PhD, who led
the study team.
“Breastfed infants definitely need a vitamin D supplement, and most
formula-fed infants probably need supplementation too to get 400 IU a day,” she
Sources of Vitamin D
Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, and milk. But even
adults have a hard time getting the recommended levels of the vitamin through
The body also makes its own vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet B (UBV)
rays from the sun.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under
the age of 6 months avoid sun exposure and wear protective clothing and sunscreen when in the sun to avoid burning.
While some have questioned these guidelines, Perrine says they are not
likely to change because of concerns about the dangers of early-life sun