Sunny Kids Need More Sun Time

Vitamin D is what kids need to grow

(RxWiki News) The sun can be a good thing and a bad thing. Too much can cause skin cancer and too little will leave us needing vitamin D. We need just the right amount of sun and kids aren’t getting it.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that children need 600 international units per day, but researchers believe kids might need more than that for proper growth and development.

"Get kids off couches and out in the sun."

Dianne Eyvonn Godar, Ph.D., from U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Center for Devices and Radiological Health at Rockville, Maryland and team of researchers say that a good source of vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun and kids just aren’t getting enough of either.

The researchers used a previous two year survey to calculate the amount of vitamin D children were getting. The previous study included about 2,000 children who were under the age of 19.

Children under the age of five have the most exposure to sun during winter, while teens between the ages of 13 and 19 get the most exposure the rest of the year.

The researchers also found that different children with different skin types react differently to sun exposure. The results suggested that children with olive skin tone like Hispanic or Asian kids rarely meet the minimum vitamin D need. Children with dark skin tones might not ever meet the minimum amount of vitamin D needed per day. Caucasian children can meet their daily requirements as long as they are not using any sunscreen.

Vitamin D is essential for proper growth and functioning so children need to either get some from their diet or spend more time in the sun. Sunscreen and sun protective wear is still recommended for all who are outside to prevent skin cancer. So go outside but be safe.

The research is published in the Environmental Health Perspectives.

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Review Date: 
August 25, 2011