Study Finds Minority Children Lacking in Vitamin D

Insufficiency and deficiency prevalence high among low-income black and Hispanic children
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- In the southeastern United States, minority, low-income children have a high prevalence of both 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, with age and season significant predictors of vitamin D deficiency, according to a study published online March 29 in Pediatrics.

Conrad R. Cole, M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues studied 290 apparently healthy, low-income, minority children (mean age, 2.5 years) in Atlanta who were recruited during well-child clinic visits.

Overall, the researchers found that the prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency and insufficiency was 22.3 and 73.6 percent, respectively. They also found that 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency was more common among non-Hispanic black children than in Hispanic children (26 versus 18 percent), and observed a reduced likelihood of deficiency in children aged 3 years and older and in those who were recruited during the spring and summer.

"These findings suggest that additional vitamin D supplementation, through diet, sunlight exposure, and/or vitamin D supplementation strategies, may be warranted for children with dark skin during winter and spring seasons in the United States," the authors conclude. "The data also raise questions regarding whether children at risk for 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency should undergo periodic measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels during the winter season, to guide supplementation."

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