First study to examine vitamin D insufficiency in pediatric patients with low bone density
Study published in Pediatrics suggests examining vitamin D status in patients with history of fractures or low bone density
D insufficiency is common in adults and is emerging in the world of
pediatrics. A mild degree of vitamin D deficiency, also known as
vitamin D insufficiency, causes rickets in children and can be treated
with increased amount of nutritional vitamin D intake as well as
increased sun exposure.
A new study conducted by physicians
and researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital, is the first study
to investigate vitamin D insufficiency in pediatric patients with low
According to the study, published in the June
issue of Pediatrics, among the 85 patients studied, 80 percent had a
vitamin D insufficiency. All the patients had a history of bone
fragility or underlying chronic medical conditions that put them at a
risk of osteoporosis, which is not just an adult disease, but is seen
in children and can originate during childhood. Vitamin D insufficiency
may contribute to low bone mass or even make the underlying metabolic
bone disease worsen if not treated. Vitamin D is essential in bone
growth and mineralization in children and adults.
study's lead author, Sasigarn Bowden, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist
and attending physician in the Metabolic Bone Clinic at Nationwide
Children's explains, "We need to check vitamin D levels in all patients
with history of multiple fractures or low bone density and treat the
vitamin D problem if the levels are low. The supplementation of vitamin
D should be a priority in the management of pediatric patients with
osteoporosis or osteopenia in order to optimize their bone health and
potentially prevent fractures."
Potential factors that may
account for vitamin D insufficiency in various chronic medical
conditions include low vitamin D intake and decreased sun exposure.
Four studies in Europe found that 80 percent of healthy children and
adolescents had insufficient vitamin D levels in the winter.
to the number of recent studies of healthy children or adolescents with
a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency, the public should be
aware of the fact that it is common, especially living in high
altitude," said Bowden, also an assistant professor of Pediatrics at
The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Sometimes our vitamin D
levels get low at the end of winter due to less exposure to sunlight,
but if we take a multivitamin D supplement, or consume an adequate
amount of vitamin D from dietary sources such as vitamin D fortified
milk or orange juice, we should be okay throughout the entire year."