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Vitamin D Recommendations Doubled for Children

Although the prevalence of rickets has dropped off since it was first discovered in the 1800s, there have been increased reports of the disease in the U.S. in the past 5 to 10 years. However, recent concerns about the illness's return are hard to assess, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not have exact numbers on rickets cases. Children at the greatest risk for developing the disease are infants who are exclusively breastfed and are not supplemented with 400 IU a day. Although it is important to remember that breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for infants, the AAP notes that many nursing mothers have a vitamin D deficiency, which can in turn affect the amount in their milk.

Updated Recommendations

The AAP's new vitamin D recommendations are listed below. Talk to your own pediatrician about what is right for your child.

  • Breastfed and partially breastfed infants should be supplemented with 400 IU of vitamin D beginning within the first few days of birth.
  • Non-breastfed infants, as well as older children, who do not consume at least one quart of vitamin-D fortified formula or milk a day should be supplemented with 400 IU a day.
  • Adolescents who do not get 400 IU a day of vitamin D through food should take a supplement that contains that amount.
  • Children who may be at a higher risk of a vitamin D deficiency due to certain medications may need a higher daily dose.
  • In addition to child supplementation, growing evidence shows adequate vitamin D is important for fetal development. Therefore, the AAP strongly recommends the testing of vitamin D levels in pregnant women, and supplementation when needed



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