KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The sun has been a welcome sight in recent days. During the dark days of winter, we get very little vitamin D from the sun. That could be one factor in your child having a vitamin D deficiency.
Some kids were burning energy outdoors on a cold day. It’s something one dad says he did more of as a child than his girls do.
“It’s a different generation now. Everybody has iPads and tablets and plenty of TV, so we almost have to force ‘em outside sometimes,” Jason Adams said.
Doctors say less time in the sun is one reason why this generation is at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. Many don’t get enough of the vitamin that’s essential to build healthy bones.
“Less outdoor time than a generation or two ago. And the good use of sunscreen also reduces the ability for the vitamin to be produced,” Dr. Michael Kasper of Pediatric Associates said.
Dr. Kasper says don’t stop using that sunscreen for prevention of skin cancer. Bundling up in the cold and the lack of sun during the winter also result in the body making little vitamin D from the sun. So, he says, focus on getting your kids enough D from food. Sources include some fish and whole eggs, and foods fortified with D include milk, yogurt, some cereals and juice.
The pediatrician recommends supplements for some kids.
“Obese kids, kids that are having poor diets that are dairy poor,” he said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says any child not drinking about a quart of milk a day should take a supplement.
“Every day. Multivitamin,” Adams said.
So his girls may be more likely to get enough of the sunshine vitamin.
Dr. Kasper says he does vitamin D testing in some at-risk kids. Testing isn’t recommended for the general population.