Sunday 13 November 2011


I read this article with interest because I know, from experience, that if you live in France, babies are given a vitamin D supplement automatically at least all the time you are breastfeeding and frequently beyond. Even so, I still didn't know all the facts and advice about Vitamin D in the article below, so I thought it would be worthwhile sharing it with you ... especially if you live north of Birmingham !!


SHORTER WINTER days mean Britain’s toddlers risk not getting enough vitamin D, a vitamin needed for the growth and development of their bones, it is warned today.

A new survey reveals nearly eight out of 10 parents are not aware of toddlers’ specific nutritional needs and 74 per cent of British toddlers do not receive the vitamin supplements recommended by the UK Departments of Health for under-fives. Specifically, 9 out of 10 toddlers are failing to meet their recommended daily vitamin D reference nutrient intake.

As the clocks go back and sunlight hours fall by up to half it becomes harder to get ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ from sunlight alone. British children’s vitamin D-poor diets combined with low uptake of supplementation and a lack of knowledge amongst parents about their specific nutritional needs, mean toddlers could be missing out.

The research from points towards the risk being highest in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield, where vitamin supplement uptake is lowest, as is exposure to vitamin D-producing UVB sunlight. Toddlers of African-Caribbean and South Asian heritage are also at increased risk, as their skins’ increased melanin level means they are less able to produce vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.

Shorter winter days

Vitamin D is made by the body on exposure to sunlight. In British wintertime, the number of daily sunshine hours drops by as much as half in some areas, especially in the north of the country, and the angle of the sun changes making it much more difficult for the body to make vitamin D.

Lack of knowledge for parents

Nearly eight out of 10 British parents are unaware that toddlers have specific nutritional needs and over half (54 per cent) say they never, rarely or occasionally consider a toddler’s specific nutritional requirements.

Nearly three-quarters of mums say they don’t give their toddler the vitamin supplements recommended by the UK Departments of Health. The Departments of Health recommend that ALL toddlers receive a daily supplement of vitamins A, C and D.

Poor dietary uptake

The best source of vitamin D comes from UV light exposure. However in countries like the UK, where sunlight is limited, it is essential that toddlers also eat vitamin D rich foods. However, it can be hard to get toddlers to eat vitamin D rich foods – for example Government statistics show that the average consumption of oily fish is well below the recommendation.

Simple steps parents can take to ensure toddlers are meeting their vitamin D needs include:

· Exposure to the summer (April-Oct) sun (without sunscreen) for 10 minutes a few times a week is enough for most people to produce vitamin D and store it for winter. However, some groups may not be able to get enough vitamin D exposure in this way. These groups include young children, those living north of Birmingham in the UK (due to the angle of the sun) and those of African-Caribbean and South Asian origin

· Take a daily children’s supplement of vitamins A, C and D

· Giving 2 x 150ml beakers of Growing Up Milk daily as part of a healthy balanced diet provides more than half a toddler's daily recommended nutrient intake of vitamin D

· Include sources of vitamin D in the diet. Good sources include: fortified margarines and breakfast cereals, egg yolks, liver and oily fish

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1 comment:

  1. I remember reading an article in the summer saying that parents are so busy covering their children in factor 50 sunscreen that the kids are lacking in vitamin D, and rickets is making a comeback!


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