According to a new study from Canada, the two factors most strongly associated with higher vitamin D levels in young children are taking a daily vitamin D supplement and drinking two cups of cow’s milk a day.
The observational study measured the blood vitamin D concentrations of 1,896 healthy children under 6 years of age who had been participating in a program since birth with the aim of preventing common nu-trition problems in early years and understanding their impact on health and disease later in life (1). The study results showed that dietary intakes of vitamin D through supplementation and cow's milk were the
two factors most strongly associated with maintaining sufficient vitamin D stores. Both of those factors
were better at predicting a child’s vitamin D stores than were skin color or measures of exposure to the
sun. At the time of the study, 57% of the children had been taking a regular vitamin D supplement.
The researchers noted that dietary records of Canadian infants show that, at 12 months, they are receiving only 11% of their recommended daily allowance of vitamin D through food such as oily fish, fortified dairy products and cereals. Since early childhood is a critical stage in human development, achieving and maintai-ning optimal vitamin D levels in early childhood may be important to health outcomes in later childhood and adulthood. Vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for a number of illnesses, including asthma and allergies in children. Severe deficiency can cause rickets, a softening of bones.