A new study has suggested that one in seven American adolescents is vitamin D deficient.
To perform their analysis, researchers from the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College used the recent recommendation that the minimum acceptable serum vitamin D level be raised from 11 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) to at least 20 ng/mL.
They concluded more than half of African-American teens are vitamin D deficient and girls had more than twice the risk of deficiency compared with boys.
In addition to that, overweight teens had almost double the risk of their normal-weight peers.
"These are alarming findings," says Dr. Sandy Saintonge, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics and assistant professor of clinical public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. "We need to do a better job of educating the public on the importance of vitamin D and the best ways to get it."
She suggest that a diet rich in vitamin D would includes salmon, tuna, eggs and fortified cereals. Alternatively, vitamin supplements containing 400 IU of vitamin D may be used.
Vitamin deficiency in children can lead to bone problems, including rickets, and in adults it has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, impaired immunity and hypertension.