Low Vitamin D in Kids May Increase Diabetes Risk
Fish and fish oil, eggs, and fortified dairy and soy products are among the best sources of dietary vitamin D. You might also want to consider a supplement.
Low vitamin D levels have been linked to an array of health problems including back pain, depression, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, some cancers, and diabetes. A new study, finding that obese children have lower vitamin D levels than non-obese children, also found that low vitamin D status was associated with other risk factors for diabetes in obese children.
Correlating obesity with low vitamin D levels
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, included 411 obese children and 87 normal weight children. The children's blood levels of vitamin D were tested to determine status and blood was also tested to assess their ability to control blood sugar levels. They and their parents also answered questions about their dietary habits.
Several important associations were seen in the results:
Low vitamin D might be a predictor for future diabetes
"As the number of obese children increases, pediatric providers must be aware of the higher rates of vitamin D deficiency seen in obese versus non-overweight children," the study's authors said. They further noted that their findings suggest that low vitamin D levels may play a role in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Helping children stay healthy
Parents can help their children avoid obesity and prevent diabetes by encouraging healthy habits. Here are some practical steps, based on the results from this and previous studies, to promote good health in kids:
(J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2012;97:online publication)
Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.