Overweight Children Benefit from Vitamin D Supplements
When you look at your child's body, what fruit comes to mind -- a banana or an apple? If you said an apple, your child is gaining unhealthy belly weight. But you may be able to reverse that faster than you can say "Chiquita banana."
Start with vitamin D3. Kids who don't get enough of it tend to put on pounds, especially around the middle, according to a new study. Not only do chubby kids face the same health risks as pudgy adults do -- especially diabetes -- but D3 is vital for building young bones and keeping little arteries healthy, too. That apple-body belly fat ups the risk of heart disease. Yes, even in children. Learn how being just mildly overweight takes a toll on your child's health.
Next step: Make like your mom and yell "Go outside and play!" Like you, kids get this vitamin naturally whenever they get 15 to 20 minutes of sunshine. It turns on the skin's amazing D3-making factory.
But because children don't play outdoors as much as they used to, and because we're more vigilant about using sunscreen year-round, D3 deficiency is rising. So is childhood obesity, apparently. And D-rich foods like egg yolks, salmon, and D-fortified milk or OJ may not supply enough. So like 75% of adults, many kids need a supplement: 400 international units (IU) a day for most children, up to a max of 600 for some; at least 1,000 IU for you (1,200 after age 60). Bypass plain D for vitamin D3, the form that skin makes naturally. It also helps fight viral infections in school-age children, so your whole family could stay healthier during cold and flu season. Use this chart to be sure your child is eating the right stuff.