Korean J Pediatr.  2013 Oct;56(10):417-423. 10.3345/kjp.2013.56.10.417.

Vitamin D status and childhood health

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Gangnam CHA Medical Center, CHA University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Family Medicine, Yongin Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. ukyjhome@yuhs.ac

Abstract

Vitamin D is an essential component of bone and mineral metabolism; its deficiency causes growth retardation and skeletal deformities in children and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults. Hypovitaminosis D (vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency) is observed not only in adults but also in infants, children, and adolescents. Previous studies suggest that sufficient serum vitamin D levels should be maintained in order to enhance normal calcification of the growth plate and bone mineralization. Moreover, emerging evidence supports an association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels and immune function, respiratory diseases, obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, infection, allergy, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases in pediatric and adolescent populations. The risk factors for vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency in the pediatric population are season (winter), insufficient time spent outdoors, ethnicity (non-white), older age, more advanced stage of puberty, obesity, low milk consumption, low socioeconomic status, and female gender. It is recommended that all infants, children, and adolescents have a minimum daily intake of 400 IU (10 microg) of vitamin D. Since the vitamin D status of the newborn is highly related to maternal vitamin D levels, optimal vitamin D levels in the mother during pregnancy should be maintained. In conclusion, given the important role of vitamin D in childhood health, more time spent in outdoor activity (for sunlight exposure) and vitamin D supplementation may be necessary for optimal health in infants, children, and adolescents.

Keyword

Vitamin D; Vitamin D deficiency; Child; Adolescent; Health
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