Vitamin D in the healthy European paediatric population.J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2013; 56(6):692-701JP
In recent years, reports suggesting a resurgence of vitamin D deficiency in the Western world, combined with various proposed health benefits for vitamin D supplementation, have resulted in increased interest from health care professionals, the media, and the public. The aim of this position paper is to summarise the published data on vitamin D intake and prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the healthy European paediatric population, to discuss the health benefits of vitamin D and to provide recommendations for the prevention of vitamin D deficiency in this population. Vitamin D plays a key role in calcium and phosphate metabolism and is essential for bone health. There is insufficient evidence from interventional studies to support vitamin D supplementation for other health benefits in infants, children, and adolescents. The pragmatic use of a serum concentration >50 nmol/L to indicate sufficiency and a serum concentration <25 nmol/L to indicate severe deficiency is recommended. Vitamin D deficiency occurs commonly among healthy European infants, children, and adolescents, especially in certain risk groups, including breast-fed infants, not adhering to the present recommendation for vitamin D supplementation, children and adolescents with dark skin living in northern countries, children and adolescents without adequate sun exposure, and obese children. Infants should receive an oral supplementation of 400 IU/day of vitamin D. The implementation should be promoted and supervised by paediatricians and other health care professionals. Healthy children and adolescents should be encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle associated with a normal body mass index, including a varied diet with vitamin D-containing foods (fish, eggs, dairy products) and adequate outdoor activities with associated sun exposure. For children in risk groups identified above, an oral supplementation of vitamin D must be considered beyond 1 year of age. National authorities should adopt policies aimed at improving vitamin D status using measures such as dietary recommendations, food fortification, vitamin D supplementation, and judicious sun exposure, depending on local circumstances.