Vitamin D For Growing Bones
We help you make sure that your child is getting the necessary Vitamin D for healthy bone development.
Vitamin D is critical for strong bones and muscles. The healthy habits we help our children cultivate can see them through a lifetime of bone health. Calcium-rich foods are a cornerstone of strong bones, but we also need vitamin D to help our bodies effectively absorb calcium.
Although it is called a vitamin, vitamin D isn’t a vitamin in the strict sense. Vitamins are nutrients that our bodies need, but are not able to make—we obtain them through the foods we eat. Vitamin D is different; our bodies can make vitamin D in our skin when we spend time in sunlight, so it is considered a hormone.
Vitamin D is measured in units called “International Units” (IUs). Up until 2008, a daily dose of 200 IUs was believed sufficient, but emerging research indicates that healthy bones require even more vitamin D. Today, both the Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics have increased the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D for children to at least 1000 IUs.
A number of factors make it difficult for many children to get sufficient vitamin D, including the following:
- Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Even when children eat well-balanced meals, they also need vitamin D-fortified foods and regular exposure to sunlight.
- Children spend more time in front of computers and televisions than they used to, and less time playing outdoors.
- Vitamin D-fortified milk consumption has steadily decreased. More children today drink juice or soda.
- Especially during long Minnesota winters, children spend less time outside exposed to sunlight.
The best ways to make sure that your child gets enough vitamin D include the following:
- Serve fish; it is one of the few foods that naturally contains vitamin D.
- Include vitamin D-fortified foods in your child’s diet, such as milk, breakfast cereal, and juice.
- Vitamin D is available as a child-friendly supplement in gummy vitamin and liquid forms. Unlike calcium supplements, which aren’t absorbed if taken in too great a dose at one time, your child can take a full dose of vitamin D at one time.
- Encourage your child to spend time playing outdoors
By taking steps to provide recommended amounts of vitamin D, you are helping your child to establish healthy bone habits for a lifetime.
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