ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Myrrh May Lower High Cholesterol
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Want Sun Protection? Wear Red or Blue
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
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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