One in seven American adolescents is vitamin D deficient, according to a new study by researchers in the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College.
In children, vitamin D deficiency can interfere with bone mineralization, leading to rickets. In adults, it is linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, immune dysfunction and hypertension.
Using newer criteria, the study finds more than half of African-American teens are vitamin D deficient. Girls had more than twice the risk of deficiency compared with boys. And overweight teens had nearly double the risk of their normal-weight counterparts.
"These are alarming findings. We need to do a better job of educating the public on the importance of vitamin D, and the best ways to get it. To meet minimum nutritional requirements teens would need to consume at least four glasses of fortified milk daily or its dietary equivalent.
Other foods rich in vitamin D include salmon, tuna, pastured eggs and fortified cereals.
Of the specific findings, the authors were particularly concerned about the role of weight in deficiency. "Because vitamin D is stored in body fat, simply increasing the dosage of vitamin D may not be effective in overweight adolescents," notes senior author Dr. Linda M. Gerber, professor of public health in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and professor of epidemiology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. "As the prevalence of childhood obesity increases, vitamin D deficiency may increase as well. In this group, appropriate nutrition could solve both problems." Source ScienceDaily