Thoughtful boy
December 5, 2011

Study Links Low Vitamin D Levels To Obese Children

A new study has found that low vitamin D levels are significantly more prevalent in obese children than in non-obese children.

The study examined associations between vitamin D levels and dietary habits in obese children, and also tested whether there were correlations between vitamin D and markers of abnormal glucose metabolism and blood pressure.

"Our study found that obese children with lower vitamin D levels had higher degrees of insulin resistance," Micah Olson, MD, of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "Although our study cannot prove causation, it does suggest that low vitamin D levels may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes."

Past studies have found that high rates of vitamin D deficiency exist in obese populations, and low vitamin D levels have also been linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.  However, the link between the two have not been fully understood.

For the new study, researchers measured vitamin D levels, blood sugar levels, serum insulin, BMI and blood pressure in 411 obese subjects and 87 control non-overweight subjects.

The study participants were also asked to provide dietary information including daily intake of soda, juice and  milk, average daily fruit and vegetable intake, and whether or not they routinely skipped breakfast.

"Poor dietary habits such as skipping breakfast and increased soda and juice intake were associated with the lower vitamin D levels seen in obese children," Olson said in a press release. "Future studies are needed to determine the clinical significance of lower vitamin D levels in obese children, the amount and duration of treatment necessary to replenish vitamin D levels in these children and whether treatment with vitamin D can improve primary clinical endpoints such as insulin resistance."

The study was published in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).


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