Vitamin D is an essential component of bone and mineral metabolism; its deficiency causes growth retardation and skeletal deformities in children and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults. Hypovi-taminosis D (vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency) is observed not only in adults but also in infants, children, and adolescents. Previous studies suggest that sufficient serum vitamin D levels should be maintained in order to enhance normal calcification of the growth plate and bone mineralization. Moreover, emerging evidence supports an association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and immune function, respiratory disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, infection, allergy, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases in pediatric and adolescent populations. The risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in the pediatric population are season (winter), insufficient time spent outdoors, ethnicity, older age, more advanced stage of puberty, obesity, low milk consumption, low socioeconomic status, and female gender. It is recommended that all infants, children, and adolescents have a minimum daily intake of 400 IU (10 μg) of vitamin D. Since the vitamin D status of the newborn is highly related to maternal vitamin D levels, optimal vitamin D levels in the mother during pregnancy should be maintained. In conclusion, given the important role of vitamin D in childhood health, more time spent in outdoor activity (for sunlight exposure) and vitamin D supplementation may be necessary for optimal health in infants, children, and adolescents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health