Parents whose children are overweight may want to consider adding foods that contain vitamin D to their child's diet, as new research suggests that low levels of vitamin D are associated with weight gain among kids.
Scientists from the University of Michigan noted that the accumulation of abdominal fat has been previously linked to an increased risk for developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease. For the current study, the investigators examined more than 470 elementary school children for about 30 months.
At the beginning of the trial, the participants' vitamin D levels were measured. The researchers then analyzed the link between vitamin D changes and body fat throughout the study.
Eduardo Villamo, senior author of the study, said that in the findings, "the kids with the lowest vitamin D levels at the beginning tended to gain weight faster than the kids with higher levels." Subjects who had the lowest levels of this vitamin also had greater weight gain in their abdominal area.
Overall, the researchers claim that children who are vitamin D deficient may be at risk for becoming obese later in life.
Nearly 20 percent of children who are between 6 and 11 years old are either overweight or obese. Foods that are high in vitamin D, such as mushrooms, catfish or salmon may all help to prevent weight gain in children.