Health Team

Pediatricians: Children need more vitamin D

Posted October 20, 2008

— The nation's leading group of pediatricians says children are not getting enough vitamin D and should be taking vitamin D supplements to achieve the recommended amount.

But as Dr. Allen Mask explains, some nutrition experts say pills shouldn't be the first choice.

Shantel Cornelius makes sure her son gets plenty of milk every day.

“He takes about five bottles – about 6 ounces each,” Cornelius said.

When it comes to vitamin D, however, that may not be enough. The American Academy of Pediatrics has doubled the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, making it equal to the amount in 4 cups of milk, for infants and children to avoid bone diseases.

Bone strength is important, Dr. Sonia Gidwani, a pediatrician in New York, said.

“A baby might not be able to walk or (might) have bow legs,” she said. Weak bones, Gidwani said, can lead to a “higher chance of having a fracture.”

Vitamin D also may reduce the risks of cancer, diabetes and even heart disease. Kids may suffer from Vitamin D deficiency more than adults, partly because they spend too little time in the sun.

“Kids are sitting inside playing video games and spending a couple hours at night doing homework after they sat in the schools for seven to eight hours,” said Natalie Newell, a registered dietitian with Rex Healthcare.

Milk and other dairy products are a common source of vitamin D, but most kids don't even drink the old recommended amount of 2 cups a day.

More foods are supplemented with Vitamin D now, even baby formula. Or, children can take vitamin D supplements in chewable pills or drops, but that should be a last resort, Newell said.

“You can get the recommended vitamins and minerals from a healthy balanced diet. …A lot of times, I think, we're quick to say, ‘Here take this pill.’”

Fish is also a good source of Vitamin D – but for some kids, that may be an even harder pill to swallow.

By the way, doctors also recommend mothers breast-feed their children for at least a year, but the moms also needs to make sure they get enough milk to provide the nutrients their babies need.


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  • vote4changeASAP Oct 22, 2008

    Furthermore, if you buy lowfat 1 or 2% milk, fillers are added to replace the natural beneficial fats and acids. Pour some out of a plastic jug and return to the frig later to pour another glass. You will see a skim line around the previous level. Whole milk doesn't do that plus it stays fresh longer.

    Milk IS one of nature's most beneficial foods. Reasearchers have discovered that the natural fats and cholesterol found in sources like whole milk is essential to fertility in humans. An article this year in Newsweek revealed that livestock producers know more about nutrition and fertility for their animals than doctors know about women.

  • vote4changeASAP Oct 22, 2008

    Do you people REALLY know anything about dairy nutrition or are you just repeating what "they" say?

    Dairy cows aren't fed antibiotics because that is against FDA regulations. They are injected with antibiotics if the are sick and there is a withdrawl period for milk and meat usage. The hormone fed to dairy cows to increase milk production is not naturally used by the human body and is destroyed in the stomach. Milk contains .065 micrograms of estrogen/500 grams, implanted beef - .007 microg/500 grams while SOYBEAN OIL contains 1000 microg/500 grams.

    Keep cramming yourself full of soy products.

  • intuit Oct 21, 2008

    with the antibiotics/hormones the cows are fed these days, I certainly hope that nursing mothers and children being administered milk are using organic milk.

  • BuggerOff Oct 21, 2008

    Wow - not sure how an article about vitamin D doesn't mention the best natural source - 15 minutes of sunlight. Nor does it stress the point that milk doesn't even contain vitamin D naturally! It's added after the fact - aka "vitamin D fortified." Could it be an advertisement for milk posing as a health article? You betcha!

    The sun is the BEST way to get vitamin D - better than any other food in fact, but yet this article makes no mention of it at all. Why do you think that is? Because there's no money in sunlight.

    The truth is that there are better sources of vitamin D, not to mention calcium, besides over consumed, antibiotic and fat and cholesterol laden milk and dairy products, but the milk industry doesn't want you to know that. Don't even get me started on how much money these people spend on the "milk - it does a body good advertising." The health benefits of milk are a total crock!