ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
CANCER
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Laugh and the World Understands
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Most American youngsters aren't getting enough vitamin D, and that deficiency is associated with an increased incidence of risk factors for cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke, two new studies find.

Simultaneous publication of both papers in the Aug. 3 online edition of Pediatrics is coincidental, the lead authors of the reports said. Both used U.S. data from the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and both were initiated because of a lack of information about the possible effects of low vitamin D levels on cardiovascular risk in young people.

While studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to increased risk in American adults, "few studies have looked at whether vitamin D can be associated with increased cardiovascular disease in children," said Jared P. Reis, who began his study while at Johns Hopkins University. He is now an epidemiologist in the division of cardiovascular sciences of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

"Nobody questions that vitamin D deficiency causes rickets," said Dr. Michal L. Melamed, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, who led the other study. "We wanted to explore other health outcomes and noticed that nobody had described this outcome."

The study she led looked at the overall incidence of low blood levels of vitamin D among young Americans aged 1 to 21 in the survey. There is no formal definition of vitamin D deficiency, Reis said, but many experts believe that a level of 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood is desirable.

The Melamed study found that 9 percent of young Americans -- 7.6 million -- were vitamin D-deficient, with blood levels under 15 nanograms per milliliter, and that 61 percent -- 50.8 million -- were vitamin D-insufficient, with levels between 15 nanograms and 29 nanograms per milliliter.

The high incidence of vitamin D deficiency was so surprising that "we sat on our data for six months," Melamed said. "We didn't publish until it was confirmed by other people that we had the right numbers."

Children with the lowest vitamin D levels were more likely to have higher blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and low blood levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, the study found.

It's not entirely certain that low levels of vitamin D early in life will translate into health problems in the adult years, Melamed said. "But if you have hypertension [high blood pressure] at age 20, you have 60 more years of dealing with the consequences," she noted.

The study led by Reis was a detailed cross-sectional analysis of data on 3,577 adolescents. It found an average vitamin D blood level of 24.8 nanograms per milliliter. The average level was 15.5 nanograms per milliliter in blacks, 21.5 in Mexican Americans and 28 in whites.

There was a clear association with cardiovascular risk factors. The 25 percent of youngsters with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 2.36 times more likely to have high blood pressure, 54 percent more likely to have low HDL cholesterol levels, 2.54 times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels and 3.88 times more likely to have metabolic syndrome, a constellation of risk factors including obesity, high blood fats and high blood pressure.

But the results should not panic parents, Reis said. "I believe we need additional research," he said. "Our study is observational, and we need additional studies to confirm it."

Specifically, parents need not turn to supplements to provide the recommended intake of vitamin D, currently set at 200 International Units a day for everyone up to age 50, Reis said. Adequate vitamin D intake can be achieved with 15 minutes a day of exposure to sunlight or consuming fortified milk, bread and other wheat products, among other foods, he said.

"Parents should focus on modifiable risk factors," Melamed said. "Children should not always be on the computer or watching television. They can drink more milk, rather than using supplements."

SOURCES: Jared P. Reis, Ph.D., epidemiologist, division of cardiovascular sciences, U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Michal L. Melamed, M.D., assistant professor, medicine and epidemiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.; Aug. 3, 2009 Pediatrics, online