Many young children are not receiving enough vitamin D, putting them at risk of bone problems and immune-system trouble, ABC News reports. In a group of 380 kids ages 2 and younger, 12% were deficient in vitamin D and 40% had below-optimal levels. A third of those deficient showed changes in bone density of the wrist and knee, and a few even had rickets.
The deficiency rate is "higher than expected in a country that has vitamin-D-fortified milk," the lead researcher tells Reuters. The best natural source of vitamin D is the sun, and parents who constantly cover their kids with sunblock and blankets may raise the risk of underexposure. Another source is fortified foods, especially milk products, bread, and cereals.