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Half of children with chronic illness had low levels of vitamin D – April 2013

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e60856. Published online 2013 April 9. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060856
Elisa Holmlund-Suila,#1 Panu Koskivirta,#1 Tuula Metso,2 Sture Andersson,1 Outi Mäkitie,1,4 and Heli T. Viljakainen1,3,*

Introduction: Children and adolescents with a chronic illness have potential risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. An optimal vitamin D status might have multiple health effects. This study evaluated vitamin D status and its association with age, gender, and season in a large cohort of chronically ill Finnish patients at a tertiary pediatric outpatient clinic. A cross-sectional register-based study was carried out, involving altogether 1351 children (51% boys, age range 0.2–18 years), who visited the outpatient clinic during 2007–2010 and had their vitamin D status (S-25-OHD) determined. A post-doc analysis was conducted to identify predisposing and preventing factors for vitamin D deficiency.

Results: Almost half (47%) of the S-25-OHD values were consistent with subnormal vitamin D status (S-25-OHD <50 nmol/L) while only 12% were >80 nmol/L. Age and season were the most important determinants for S-25-OHD concentration. Mean S-25-OHD concentration differed between age groups (Kruskal-Wallis; p<0.001), adolescents being at highest risk for vitamin D insufficiency. Young age and vitamin D supplementation were preventive factors for deficiency, while non-Finnish ethnic background was a predisposing factor. S-25-OHD showed significant seasonal variation in children older than 6 years. In the whole cohort, S-25-OHD was on average 13 nmol/L higher in summer than in winter, and the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency ( = S-25-OHD <37.5 nmol/l) varied from 11% in summer to 29% in winter.

Conclusions:The finding that almost half of the studied Finnish children with a chronic illness had suboptimal vitamin D status is alarming. Inferior vitamin D status was noted in adolescents compared with younger children, suggesting that imbalance between intake and requirement evolves with age. Although less common during summer, subnormal vitamin D status was still observed in 28% of those evaluated in summer. Clinicians should identify individuals at risk and actively recommend vitamin D supplementation.


More Nephrology, and Eating disorders associated with low vitamin D


# of children5050
Vitamin D level 6 ng 48 ng
Non-Finnish Ethnicity35% 4%
BMI 1916
Use of Vitamin D23% 88%

Note: Low vitamin D levels may be associated with dark skins

PDF is attached at the bottom of this page

See also VitaminDWiki

Summary by VitaminDWiki

1-3 years (G1) 4-6 years (G2) 7-11 years (G3) 12-17 years (G4)
muscle weakness (91%)
low weight gain (failure to thrive) (89%),
head deformity (frontal bossing) (35.6%),
bone deformity (29.7%)
   (enlargement of wrist & ankles)
Muscle weakness (76%)
low weight gain (failure to thrive) (68%)
Leg pain (57%)
Chest pain (28%)
high rates of obesity (31%)
Leg Pain (26%)
Chest pain (55%)
high rates of obesity (63%)

Short url = http://is.gd/childvitd

Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
2415 Chronic seasonal.pdf admin 21 Apr, 2013 695.92 Kb 987
2414 Chronic illnesses by vitamin D level.jpg admin 21 Apr, 2013 49.69 Kb 1484