High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in young children in a highly sunny humid country: a global health problem

A recent study has found that young children who live in a sunny climate are still at risk of vitamin D deficiency. In the study, 650 children under the age of 16 were evaluated fro vitamin D levels, sun exposure and dietary intake. Vitamin D deficiency was resent inn over 65% of children, mainly due to inadequate sun exposure and poor dietary intake. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, immune system function, thyroid health and it modulates insulin secretion. A vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor bone growth and structure, increased fracture risk, muscle wasting, autoimmune disease and hypothyroidism.

This study highlights the importance of sunlight to our health, as the main source of vitamin D production in the body is from the UV rays of the sun. The increasing use of UV sunscreens and the discouragement of sun exposure may therefore be as beneficial as once thought, as without sunlight we cannot achieve a balanced state of health.

Moderation is the key to sun exposure. You should aim to get at least 10 minutes of unprotected sunlight a day, in the middle of the day according to studies.

Other sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, deep sea fish, egg yolk and seaweeds.

Bener et al, Minerva Pediatrica, vol. 61, no.1, pp. 15-22