Feature

Health scare of the week: Vitamin D-ficiency

Studies have found that a lack of Vitamin D can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin D should be the easiest vitamin to acquire: The human body produces it naturally after just 10 to 15 minutes in the sun. Yet most children in the U.S. aren’t getting the recommended amount, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. In kids, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to soft bones and, as they grow up, a heightened risk of heart disease and diabetes. The threat is sufficiently grave that in 2008 the recommended quota was doubled, from 200 to 400 international units daily. Yet the new study, which analyzed the diets of some 1,500 infants, found that 90 percent of breast-fed infants didn’t meet even the old standard for vitamin D intake. Even among formula-fed infants, only 37 percent met the new standard. “With the combination of more women breast-feeding and how we slather kids with sunscreen and don’t let them run in the sun anymore,” pediatrician Carrie Drazba tells CNN.com, kids “aren’t getting the vitamin D exposure that they used to, or that they need.” At least half of all adults are also deficient in vitamin D, and studies have found the deficiency can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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