Vitamin D Deficiency In Children

Dr Peeyoosh Rankhamb, Consultant, Pediatrics, Neonatology,
 Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar

You will be shocked to know that even children belonging to the age group of 6-12 may also encounter vitamin D deficiency. Yes, you have heard it right! Are you aware?  Vitamin D, that is a ‘Sunshine vitamin,’ is one of the vital nutrients that will allow one to maintain the proper functioning of the body. Lack of vitamin D can impact your metabolism, weight, and even how the other organs of your body tend to function. It is essential to make sure that your children get a daily dose of vitamin D. Children need Vitamin D for their bone and muscle health. Thus, see to it that your children get enough vitamin D from foods such as eggs, salmon, tuna, mackerel, soy milk, and orange juice. Also, getting enough sunlight is vital.
Vitamin D is required to maintain a good bone mineral density in your children. Not only this, but it is also needed for calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Did you know? Deficiency of this sunshine vitamin can lead to skeletal diseases, such as rickets and osteomalacia. To top it all, it invites a plethora of health problems such as metabolic syndromes, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, respiratory infections, food allergies, and asthma in later life. Nowadays, Vitamin D deficiency cases are rising in children at a rapid rate. These children with Vitamin D deficiencies can also suffer from fractures, aches, and pains. Not only children but even babies in the womb also need Vitamin D. If you are pregnant and are unable to get enough vitamin D while you are pregnant then your child will having e a higher chance of getting rickets in the later stage of his/her childhood. This risk can be zeroed down once the child is able to get enough vitamin D after he/she is born.
Know when Vitamin D deficiency occurs in children: If your children tend to spend their most of the time, indoors then they can be deficient in Vitamin D.  If they keep their skin covered and even certain medications too can lead to Vitamin D deficiency.
This is what parents must do to ensure that their children get enough Vitamin D

1. Make your children eat foods jam-packed with Vitamin D: Include foods such as salmon, mackerel, sardine, mushrooms, egg yolks, cereals, low-fat dairy products in your children’s daily diet and help them maintain optimum weight and mobility.

2. Vitamin D supplements: Speak to your doctor about the suitable Vitamin D supplements for your children, if need be. Assist their Vitamin D levels from time to time. It is also not advisable to exceed in Vitamin D than the recommended quantity.

3. Children should be careful while exposing them to sunlight to get enough of Vitamin D: It is essential that your child should play out in the sun. But, you will also have to be sun smart and see to it that your child doesn’t expose him/her to the sun for a longer period of time as it can damage the skin of your child. Your child will encounter problems like sunburn, pigmentation, and even skin cancer. So, when your children expose themselves to the sunlight, it is imperative to wear a hat, sunglasses, and even sunscreen.

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