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Vitamin D Deficiency Found Common in American Children

Low levels are more likely in non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American children

THURSDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Suboptimal levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) are common in American children, especially non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans, according to a study in the November issue of Pediatrics.

Jonathan M. Mansbach, M.D., of Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2001 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to determine 25(OH)D levels in a sample of U.S. children ages 1 to 11 years.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of levels below 75 nmol/L was 65 percent, and that 25(OH)D levels were higher in children ages 6 to 11 than in those ages 1 to 5 years (71 versus 56 percent). In addition, the researchers showed that girls were more likely to be deficient than boys (67 versus 62 percent) and that deficiency was more common in non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans (89 and 77 percent, respectively) compared to Caucasians (54 percent).

"On the basis of a nationally representative sample of U.S. children aged 1 to 11 years, millions of children may have suboptimal levels of 25(OH)D, especially non-Hispanic black and Mexican American children," the authors write. "More data in children are needed not only to understand better the health implications of specific serum levels of 25(OH)D but also to determine the appropriate vitamin D supplement requirements for children."

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