A new report,Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk, just came out today with surprising, perhaps shocking news.
At least 40 percent of American infants and toddlers aren’t getting enough vitamin D, according to researchers from Children’s Hospital in Boston.
The study made particular note of the fact that breast feed children may be at a higher risk and recommends both mother and child take vitamin D supplements.
Breast-feeding is a known risk factor for low vitamin D levels in infants, which is why many pediatricians routinely recommend vitamin D supplementation for breast-fed infants. Other factors that may contribute to low levels of vitamin D include not drinking enough vitamin D-fortified milk (for toddlers), staying out of the sun or using sunscreen.
This may or may not be a good idea. Perhaps, as Dr. Sears “humbly suggests” children should simply spend more time out of doors to benefit from the best possible source of Vitamin D…sunshine.
The study methodology, it turns out, actually would lead me to that conclusion.
The current study included 380 children between 8 and 24 months old. About 80 percent were from urban areas.
…which, at least in my part of the world means with limited yards, constant traffic and possible predators means …spending a lot of time indoors. Granted, going outside can be challenging in our large, comfortable homes stuffed with toys and televisions and with the hazards listed above but, fortunately, there are indoor activities that can be moved outdoors easily and give you both time to soak up a few more rays.
1. Story Time – Drag a lawn chair to the front yard or just sit on the stoop to read. Often you’ll end up with a gaggle of neighborhood kids eager to listen too.
2. Nap Time – Bring out the bouncy chair, the exersaucer or baby carrier during nap time. Put it beside you while you read YOUR book
3. Art Time – make like the great masters and pull out the easel and paints. Let your child paint a landscape or what passes for one.
4. Messy stuff – now that warmer weather is hear it’s a great time to do all of those messy things you didn’t want to do in your house all winter – finger paint, blow bubbles, do science experiments or paper mache.
5. Dig in the dirt – bring out the Hot wheels, the Tonka toys, wooden cars and trucks and find a small patch of dirt. Make roads. Bring out some wood and make ramps. Create a town in miniature.
6. Bring out a wash tub of water or a baby pool if you have room. Let everyone get really wet.
7. Pull out the instruments and have a marching band. Kids love to march around the neighborhood with whistles and drums or pots and pans. Give them some silks or hats or dress up items or make some flags with fabric scraps and tomato stakes.
Whatever you do, do it outdoors, maybe not in the hottest part of the day, perhaps in the shade but think about keeping the kids outdoors instead of in this summer.
Photo Credit: Meg123006 on Flick’r Under Creative Commons license