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Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Date:12/19/2008

Deficiency can increase bone fracture risk, researchers say

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 75 percent of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes have insufficient levels of vitamin D, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston report.

A deficit in vitamin D can lead to bone problems later in life, especially among those with type 1 diabetes. While vitamin D is usually gotten from exposure to sunlight or from the diet, researchers suggest that supplements are needed to boost vitamin D levels.

"We found in children with type 1 diabetes a pretty significant level of vitamin D insufficiency -- much more than we had expected to find," said lead researcher Dr. Britta Svoren, an instructor in pediatrics.

Diabetes is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density, which can make bones more fragile, Svoren noted. Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of fracture in these children later in life, she added. In addition, vitamin D may have a role in the risk for developing type 1 diabetes.

Moreover, many children throughout the world without type 1 diabetes have vitamin D deficiency, Svoren said.

The report was published in the January issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.

For the study, Svoren's team measured vitamin D levels in 128 children with type 1 diabetes. The children were between 1.5 and 17.5 years old.

The researchers found that 61 percent of the children had insufficient levels of vitamin D, and 15 percent had a deficiency in vitamin D, meaning their vitamin D levels were severely low.

In fact, only 24 percent of the children had sufficient vitamin D levels.

The lowest vitamin D levels were seen among the oldest children. Among adolescents, 85 percent had inadequate levels of the vitamin, Svoren noted.

"One of the things that might be going on is that, for a lot of children and adolescents, the primary s
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