Pediatric Group Recommends Children Receive 400 IU of Vitamin D Daily
The American Academy of Pediatricians on Monday issued a new recommendation that children receive 400 international units of Vitamin D daily -- twice the amount previously recommended, the AP/New York Times reports. The new recommendation is based on a growing body of research that the vitamin may reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, among other benefits (AP/New York Times, 10/13). Darker-skinned children have a greater risk of vitamin D deficiency than other children because they do not absorb vitamin D as easily through the skin. Sunlight enables the skin to synthesize vitamin D (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 8/27).
The new recommendation, which will appear in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics, states that Vitamin D supplements should be given to breastfed or partially breastfed infants, beginning in the first few days of life; all non-breastfed infants and children who consume less than one liter of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk per day; and adolescents who do not receive 400 IU of the vitamin daily through food. Vitamin D researcher Catherine Gordon, director of the bone health program at Children's Hospital Boston, said, "I don't know of another vitamin that has effects on multiple tissues like Vitamin D," adding, "As pediatricians, we're still doing research on health outcomes ... later in life like osteoporosis, cancer risk and risk of developing multiple sclerosis. But there are compelling data in adults suggesting an association" (Hopper Oberholzer, Boston Globe, 10/13).