Vitamin D deficiency puts teens at risk of osteoporosis

August 9, 2006 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin D deficiency puts teens at risk of osteoporosis
According to a British study, over 70 percent of teenage girls are vitamin D deficient, putting them at increased risk of osteoporosis and other health problems later in life.

The researchers from Saint Mary�s Hospital for Women and Children in Manchester recruited 51 teenage girls with an average age of 15 years.

Dietary intake of vitamin D and calcium were assessed using food frequency questionnaires, and skin exposure to sunlight was also calculated based on typical everyday clothing cover.

Participants also had blood samples taken to measure levels of calcium and 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), the non-active �storage� form of the vitamin.
Researches report that 73 per cent of the girls were vitamin D deficient. Seventeen percent of girls had levels typically associated with rickets and osteomalacia.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the body on exposure to sunlight and only small amounts can be obtained from food. However, recent studies have shown that sunshine levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that the body makes no vitamin D at all, leading some to estimate that over half of the population in such countries have insufficient or deficient levels of the vitamin.

These latest findings published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, could lead to recommendations of vitamin D supplementation for adolescents to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

According to Osteoporosis Canada 1.4 million Canadians suffer from osteoporosis and one in four women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis.

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