Babies Short on Vitamin D | Fit Pregnancy

Babies Short on Vitamin D

03.23.10 Study says infants are not getting enough of the sunshine vitamin, regardless of how they're fed, and urge supplement

Only 1 percent to 13 percent of infants younger than 1 in the U.S. are getting enough vitamin D, even if they're breastfed or drinking vitamin-enriched formula, USA Today reports. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging parents to give their infants an oral vitamin D supplement, which officials say are inexpensive.

In 2008, Crib Notes reported on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doubling its daily vitamin D recommendation for infants and children to 400 international units (IU), up from 200 IU.

The CDC's findings, published online in the journal Pediatrics, says that about 9 out of 10 breastfed babies receive less vitamin D than the  AAP recommends. Among formula-fed babies, fewer than 37 percent meet the guideline. Vitamin D, which the body makes when it's exposed to sunshine, is crucial for healthy bones, a strong immune system and other health benefits. In children, a lack of vitamin D is linked to bone softness, respiratory infections and type I diabetes, plus a higher risk of heart disease and cancer later in life, USA Today reports.

The study urges mothers to discuss vitamin D supplements with their pediatricians. Although exposure to the sun helps produce the vitamin, the AAP is against too much sun for infants younger than 6 months.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in pregnant women, but women should remember that sunshine and vitamin D protect baby's bones. Plus, the sunshine vitamin also helps promote strong teeth later on for your little one. It's hard enough to get enough vitamin D, especially when you live in colder climates. So make sure you ask your doctor and pediatrician about getting some more D for both of you!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.

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