Maternal Vitamin D Linked to Child's Bone Mass Later On

Vitamin D supplements for pregnant women could lower osteoporosis risk in their children

FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Supplementing pregnant women's diets with vitamin D could yield long-lasting reductions in osteoporotic fractures in their children, according to a study in the Jan. 7 issue of The Lancet. A vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy is associated with lower bone mass in children at age 9.

M. Kassim Javaid, M.B., B.S., of the University of Southampton, U.K., and colleagues studied 198 children born in 1991-1992 in a Southampton hospital, after characterizing the body build, nutrition and vitamin D status of their mothers during pregnancy. The children were followed up at age 9 to relate these maternal characteristics to their body size and bone mass.

The researchers found that 49 (31%) of the mothers had insufficient circulating concentrations of vitamin D, and 28 (18%) were vitamin D deficient during late pregnancy. This was associated with reduced whole-body and lumbar-spine bone-mineral content in their children at age 9.

"Maternal vitamin D insufficiency is common during pregnancy and is associated with reduced bone-mineral accrual in the offspring during childhood; this association is mediated partly through the concentration of umbilical venous calcium," the authors write. "Vitamin D supplementation of pregnant women, especially during winter months, could lead to long-lasting reductions in the risk of osteoporotic fracture in their offspring."

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