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More Vitamin D for Kids

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced today that they are recommending an increase in the amount of Vitamin D for all children.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that works together with calcium in the formation of strong bones. Rickets is a disease that is characterized by "soft bones" and was more common in children before milk was fortified with Vitamin D. Recent research has linked Vitamin D deficiency to increased risk of numerous other diseases such as high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin D is available through exposure to sunlight, but since we limit sunlight exposure with sunscreen and our kids don't spend as much time outdoors, we are seeing a generation of children who are Vitamin D deficient. This pictures shows kids in the 1930s getting strong light to treat their Vitamin D deficiency.

The previous recommendation was 200 IU, but the AAP has doubled the number to 400 IU for all children from birth through adolescence.

AAP recommendations:
  1. If infant is breastfed, the child should receive a 400 IU supplement of Vitamin D because breastmilk does not contain enough Vitamin D. The supplement should begin in the first few days of life.
  2. If infant is formula fed and taking in at least one liter (1000 ml) per day, then that child is getting enough Vitamin D. All infant formula in the US is fortified in Vitamin D.
  3. Children and adolescents who do not obtain 400 IU of Vitamin D though Vitamin D-fortified milk or Vitamin D-fortified foods should receive a Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.
Food sources
  • Each 8 oz glass of Vitamin D-fortified milk contains 100 IU. You need 4 glasses per day if you are just getting it from milk.
  • 3 ounces of salmon contains 200 IU or more
  • Egg yolks contain 20 IU
  • A serving of fortified cereal contains 20-40 IU (read labels)
  • Certain yogurts, cheese, and cereal bars may contain some Vitamin D. Read labels carefully.
If your child needs a supplement, look for a liquid vitamin for infants and a chewable children's vitamin for older children who are able to chew.

Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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