ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
CANCER
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
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
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Run for Your Life
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Multivitamins Might Prolong Life
Go To Work But Skip The Car
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Add your Article

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