10/26/09

1 Out of 5 Kids are Vitamin D Deficient!



Who would have thought that a vitamin deficiency would resurface in America? We have more food available than many countries combined. We as a nation have become overfed and undernourished.

A vitamin D deficiency is associated with rickets, a disease where the bones soften and weaken. Since the early 1900’s the prevalence of rickets has decreased dramatically. But scientists and pediatricians warn that if we don’t get our kids the nutrition they need, diseases like rickets can resurface.

A recent study by Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital in Boston obtained vitamin D levels of 3000 children ages 1-11. The result was that 1 out of 5 don’t get enough vitamin D.

Last year the American Academy of Pediatrics raised their vitamin D recommendations for kids (birth through 13) from 200 IU to 400 IU/day.

There are tons of great ways to increase the amount of vitamin D in someone’s diet. The vitamin is found in a lot of different foods and “mix-ins” that can easily be added into daily meals. Tuna salad sandwiches are a great source of vitamin D as is milk and yogurt.  Really, many fish are great vitamin D sources as well as protein! You can check out  our recipes section (http://marketstreetuniteddfw.mywebgrocer.com/RecipeMain.aspx?s=63270005&g=2541920a-86ff-43b9-b81e-be392184817f&uc=033BA94) for some great recipes that help with sneaking fish into the meal for kids who aren’t quite fond of it or just for some interesting meals such as this tasty tuna melt. You can also let the kids create their own Mexican sensations with fish tacos like these fish tacos with mango salsa.

The yolk of an egg contains some Vitamin D as does Swiss cheese and beef ; however, the daily value percentage of these is somewhat low. A lot of foods are also coming fortified with vitamin D now such as many ready-to-eat cereals, margarine and orange juice.

Still worried your young ones aren't getting quite enough vitamin D? The sun's gleaming, beautiful rays also serve as a wonderful source of vitamin D, especially during the summer time when the ultraviolet B rays from the sun are at an all-time high. Don't worry, sunscreen won't keep your skin from reacting to the rays and producing vitamin D so feel free to use it liberally. One quick tip: If you're in the northern states, the sun doesn't actually get high enough in the sky for the ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere so standing outside in the cold won't help. Instead, you can go inside and enjoy some fresh, warm cocoa with real milk for your vitamin D! 

What are some interesting ways you’ve gotten your kids to drink the full glass of milk or step away from the video games and TV and get outside?

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