Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children receive double the dose of vitamin D (400 units) daily. New evidence suggests that the added dose might prevent serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

For breast fed babies, the AAP recommends they receive vitamin D drops. Formula fed babies do not need supplements.

It is difficult to get all the vitamin D you need just by dietary measures. The best source is going outside for 10-15 minutes daily and soaking in the sun’s rays. Of course sunscreen is always recommended. And the best thing of all, it’s free! This is especially useful if your kids fight you giving them “medication”.

Of course going outside and playing also helps a child to burn off excess energy, socialize with friends and discover the great outdoors. And for children who are having challenges with obesity, a good brisk walk daily with your child will help them. In fact, a daily walk has many benefits including time to talk together, starting good exercise habits for a lifetime and even helping you to control your weight! What more could you ask for?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is that children have 3 servings of dairy products daily and 4 servings for adolescents. Dairy foods contain nine essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin, niacin and high quality protein. In fact, milk is the top source of calcium and vitamin D for children and teens. And don’t forget about cheese and yogurt as another good source for calcium and protein.

If you have trouble getting your child to consume enough dairy products daily, you can give them a Tums once or twice a day (spread out at different times). If you are giving them vitamin tablets, make sure the bottle says “with minerals”….this way you know it includes calcium.

Vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand. Vitamin D helps the body’s absorption of calcium which in turn builds strong bones. Children need strong bones for physical activities such as soccer, gymnastics and running. Starting a good habit of “3 a day - everyday” will give them the boost they need to make dairy foods an important part of their lifelong dietary habits. Calcium is especially vital in preventing osteoporosis later in life.

Get your kids off to a good start. Good nutrition is good fuel for the body to run on.

For further information on Vitamin D we recommend you check out November’s issue of the AAP’s journal “Pediatrics”. You may access the journal at

To read more on nutrition go to

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