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
One great thing is to walk outside with your kids. I have been pushing my kids in strollers since they were born. They are great stroller riders and love to be outdoors. Plus it is great calorie burner.
Great suggestions! I would add picnics to the list as a great outdoor activity with kids.
Dagny McKinley says
I think I read that 20 minutes in the sun every day without sunscreen helps alleviate depression, gives the body the needed dose of vitamin d and is good for the body overall. Because we are so afraid of germs and sun burns kids’ skins aren’t exposed to the natural sun, which is good in small doses. Having everything anti-bacterial can reduce immune system efficiency. We need to become part of nature again.
Good atricle, but just to highlight something: people do not obtain Vitamin D from sunshine; it is manifactured in your skin when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Just thought I’d clear that up.
Good suggestions here but it seems we can’t do anything these days: stay outside and you get skincancer… stay inside and you get a vitamin D deficiency…
I’m confused! and I’ll bet I’m not the only one.
Nature Deva says
I have a 4 year old and give him plenty of raw fruits and veggies plus a supplement that has phytonutrients in it. This helps the skin not burn (among other benefits) so we don’t use as much sunscreen during the day. I try to get us both exposed to the sun with no sunscreen for 10-20 min. a day (when it’s not raining) and if we will be out all day then I apply the sunscreen and a hat to him after this. We both don’t burn and get our vitamin D the best way.
So many good suggestions! I love the picnic idea. I also like the idea of bringing things you would normally do inside to outside.. like reading a book.
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Sharleene Olivier says
It also depends where you live – the sun at the coast is different to the sun in the desert. I still think sun screen is a must (I live in South Africa) and playing “in the sun” includes playing in the shade. Also – before 11am or after 3pm.
ryan @ vitamin d3 says
Vitamin D acts as an agent that prevents and cures diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia. Rickets is a bone disease usually found in children because of poor vitamin D IU levels. If the same deficiency occurs in the case of the adults, then the condition is called osteomalacia.