Overweight Youngsters With A Vitamin D Deficiency At Risk Of Heart Disease As They Grow Older
Scientists have found yet another reason that proves going outside has benefits for youngsters.
Not getting enough UV rays increases the risk of heart disease in youngsters deemed overweight, they warn.
A new study found a link between a vitamin D deficiency in children and them going onto develop the world's leading killer in later life.
During the spring and summer, the skin has the ability to produce the sunshine vitamin when it is exposed to UV rays.
But in the autumn and winter, most people have to rely on their diet to get enough - mainly in the form of oily fish, red meat and fortified goods.
Millions rely on supplements to boost their levels of the nutrient, with it having been shown to have various health benefits.
The research is among the first to link the lack of vitamin D with cardiovascular disease in children and teenagers.
However, previous studies have shown that cardiovascular disease is more severe in patients with a deficiency.
Although people are advised not to overdo it because of the risk of skin cancer, the latest finding backs up previous studies suggesting sunshine is good for the heart.
Study author Dr Marisa Censani, of the Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said: 'These results support screening children and adolescents with overweight and obesity for vitamin D deficiency.
'Vitamin D deficiency may have negative effects on specific lipid markers with an increase in cardiovascular risk among children and adolescents.'
She and her team examined the medical records, including vitamin D levels, of children aged between 6 and 17 years of age over a two-year period.
Overall, 178 of the 332 patients were considered overweight or obese based on their BMI score.
Cholesterol levels were collected for each child, according to the results presented at the Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting in Orlando.
Vitamin D deficiency was considered to be 25 hydroxyvitamin D below 20 nanograms/millilitre.
Between 20 and to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people.
Vitamin D deficiency was found to be significantly associated with an increase in lipids and markers of early cardiovascular disease.
All levels of cholesterol were higher in participants with a vitamin D deficiency, the researchers noted.
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