It is well-established that prolonged and severe vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. More marginal vitamin D deficiency is likely to be a significant contributing factor to osteoporosis risk. However, recent emerging data from studies of adults suggest that low vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <50 nmol/l) may be contributing to the development of various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, some inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and certain cancers. Adequacy of vitamin D status in children and adolescents has been the focus of a number of recent investigations, and these studies have shown a high prevalence of low vitamin D status during the winter (especially in adolescents), with lower prevalence during the summer. Therefore, consideration of potential corrective strategies to allow children and adolescents to maintain adequate vitamin D status throughout the year, even in the absence of adequate summer sun exposure, is warranted.
- 25(OH)D3, hydroxyvitamin D3 (calcidiol)
- BMD, bone mineral density
- CT, calcitonin
- PTH, parathyroid hormone
- UVB, ultraviolet B
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The author has no competing interests.