August 04, 2009

"Vitamin Playground" is the cure for Vitamin D deficiency

One more reason to get your kids outside and playing: a stunning 70 percent of American kids aren't getting enough vitamin D. Researchers say just 15 minutes a day of sun exposure - without sunscreen - can ensure your kids are getting enough of this important vitamin.

Why is vitamin D deficiency such a big deal? Beyond the risk of developing weak bones and even rickets, not getting enough vitamin D often goes hand-in-hand with higher blood pressure and lower levels of good cholesterol, and may increase a child's risk of developing heart disease later in life, experts say.

It's interesting that in news reports of this nature, like the one at the bottom of this article from NBC Nightly News, they often show a playground. To those of us watching kids spend more and more of their free time indoors, the connection is clear. Too little time spent outside is bad for kids' health, and the body of evidence surrounding that fact just keeps growing.

Here's a great quote from a CNN article on the study:

"[Parents should know] their child is likely to be vitamin-D deficient if the child does not take a supplement of 400 IU vitamin D a day and receive some unprotected sun," said Dr. Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., a professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, and the author of "The Vitamin D Solution." "It is next to impossible to get enough vitamin D from diet, and the sun-phobic attitude has made the problem much worse."

So long story short - get your kids outside and playing to make sure they're getting enough vitamin D. They'll be having fun, getting good exercise, AND will be taking in important vitamins at the same time.

You can see the piece from NBC Nightly News here.

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