Vitamin D Deficiency Seen as New Epidemic Among Adolescents
CA, 7 April 2004
Source: Dairy Council of California
exposure to direct sunlight and the switch from drinking milk to
soda has brought back a health epidemic not seen in this country
in 70 yearsvitamin D deficiency. It is estimated that 30 percent
of adolescents nationwide may be vitamin D deficient, putting them
at risk for fractures, stunted growth and debilitating osteoporosis
later in life. Changes in lifestyle have led to this emerging problem.
choosing to stay indoors to play with computers, the increasing
use of sunscreen outdoors and a decrease in milk consumption are
largely to blame," said Michael Holick, PhD, MD, professor of medicine,
physiology and biophysics at Boston University. "Children developing
a vitamin D deficiency now can potentially face many problems as
to Holick, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to Type 1 diabetes, multiple
sclerosis, certain types of cancer and well-known effects on the
bone such as rickets and osteomalacia, a softening on the bones
in children and adults.
protect children from future problems, parents must be proactive
and make sure their children get enough vitamin D to meet the body's
nutrient requirements," said Holick. "Vitamin D-fortified milk and
orange juice are both excellent ways to help combat and prevent
to Lori Hoolihan, PhD, RD, nutrition research specialist at Dairy
Council of California, milk is one of the best fortified food sources
of vitamin D.
eight-ounce glass of vitamin D-fortified milk provides about one-half
of the daily requirement for the nutrient for adults up to age 50.
After this, the requirement doubles because the body is less able
to make its own vitamin D," said Hoolihan.
dietary sources for the nutrient include vitamin D-fortified cereals,
grain bars and juices. Ways to include the nutrient in the daily
unflavored or flavored milk
milk to fortified cereals
naturally fatty fishes such as salmon or mackerel
pudding made with fortified milk
as the sunshine vitamin because the body naturally makes it when
exposed to the sun, vitamin D is essential to optimal absorption
of calcium, needed for bone deposition. Research shows vitamin D
may also help reduce blood pressure in hypersensitive patients,
improve blood glucose levels in diabetics and improve symptoms of
Council of California has been providing nutrition information and
education programs for 85 years. Available in both Spanish and English,
Dairy Council's programs encourage healthy choices from all food
groups and daily physical activity. For more information, visit
for meal planning and recipe information.
Council of California (www.dairycouncilofca.org).