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Don’t Count on the Sun for Kids’ Vitamin D

By Dr. Karin Klee, Jackson Hole News & Guide, 05/03/19, 12:00PM CDT

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As with so many areas of health care, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

The arrival of spring and our recent interlude of unseasonably warm weather got me thinking about vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.”

Here in the United States conventional wisdom holds that if your child is drinking milk and spending a little time playing outside, he’s getting the vitamin D he needs. But recent research shows that this is not necessarily the case. Many children, as well as adolescents and adults, aren’t getting enough of this essential vitamin, and vitamin D deficiency continues to be a very real disease of the 21st century. Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to rickets, a bone-softening disease most commonly seen in children in their first two years of life. Rickets can present in many ways, but common findings include decreased linear growth (height), bowing of the legs and poor weight gain.