ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
CANCER
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
CAREGIVING
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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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