Study indicates seven out of 10 children, young adults may be deficient in vitamin D

The CBS Evening News (8/3, story 6, 2:10, Couric) reported that “surprising new research ” published Aug. 3 in the journal Pediatrics “about vitamin D” suggests that “seven out of ten children and young adults are not getting enough of it.” Jennifer Ashton, MD, explained that low vitamin D levels “have been associated with high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels and lowering of the HDL, which is the good cholesterol. The thinking is that all of those things put together may put a child at future risk of cardiovascular disease.”

ABC World News (8/3, story 9, 2:15, Gibson) correspondent John McKenzie pointed out that “sample blood tests, taken across the country, suggest that among young Americans one to 21 years of age, more than 58 million have inadequate levels of vitamin D.” Children used to get “the sunshine vitamin” they “needed by just playing outdoors a few times a week.” Today, however, youngsters “are spending more time indoors.” They are also “drinking less milk, another valuable source” of vitamin D.

NBC Nightly News (8/3, story 6, 2:20, Williams) chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman, MD, interviewed study author Michal Melamed, MD, MHS, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who expressed shock about the study’s findings. Specifically, approximately “nine percent of those ages one to 21, about 7.6 million children, adolescents and young adults, have vitamin D levels that could be deficient. Another 50.8 million have higher levels of vitamin D, but still low enough to be considered insufficient.” Young African-American girls are at particularly high risk, since “their dark skin filters the sun, automatically lowering vitamin D levels.” Dr. Snyderman pointed out: “Getting enough vitamin D…means getting out in the sunshine about 10 to 15 minutes a day without sunscreen,” an “amount of time” that “won’t hurt you,” but “could ward off serious illness,” such as “osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.” CNN (8/3, Cohen) also discussed the story in a video segment.

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