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First study to examine vitamin D insufficiency in pediatric patients with low bone density
Date:6/1/2008

Vitamin D insufficiency is common in adults and is emerging in the world of pediatrics. A mild degree of vitamin D deficiency, also known as vitamin D insufficiency, causes rickets in children and can be treated with increased amount of nutritional vitamin D intake as well as increased sun exposure.

A new study conducted by physicians and researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital, is the first study to investigate vitamin D insufficiency in pediatric patients with low bone density.

According to the study, published in the June issue of Pediatrics, among the 85 patients studied, 80 percent had a vitamin D insufficiency. All the patients had a history of bone fragility or underlying chronic medical conditions that put them at a risk of osteoporosis, which is not just an adult disease, but is seen in children and can originate during childhood. Vitamin D insufficiency may contribute to low bone mass or even make the underlying metabolic bone disease worsen if not treated. Vitamin D is essential in bone growth and mineralization in children and adults.

The study's lead author, Sasigarn Bowden, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist and attending physician in the Metabolic Bone Clinic at Nationwide Children's explains, "We need to check vitamin D levels in all patients with history of multiple fractures or low bone density and treat the vitamin D problem if the levels are low. The supplementation of vitamin D should be a priority in the management of pediatric patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia in order to optimize their bone health and potentially prevent fractures."

Potential factors that may account for vitamin D insufficiency in various chronic medical conditions include low vitamin D intake and decreased sun exposure. Four studies in Europe found that 80 percent of healthy children and adolescents had insufficient vitamin D levels in the winter.

"Due to the number of recent studies of healthy children or ado
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Contact: Mary Ellen Fiorino
MaryEllen.Fiorino@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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