The Himalayan Times, February 10, 2018
Paediatricians have suggested parents to allow infants to soak up in the sun to minimise the risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
Reports say infants with Vitamin D deficiency have high chances of suffering from diabetes and obesity. The tendency to test for Vitamin D deficiency has increased among parents in recent years and the tests have shown that many infants lack the required level of Vitamin D in their body, the doctors say.
“We have found that Vitamin D deficiency in infants slows down their physical growth,” said Dr Subhana Thapa, senior consultant paediatrician at Kanti Children’s Hospital, Maharajgunj. “The number of children suffering from vitamin D deficiency is on the rise,” said Dr Sujit Kumar Shrestha, consultant paediatrician at Om Hospital, Chabahil.
The possible reason for vitamin D deficiency among children is parents’ tendency to keep their children indoors for safety reasons. “The children these days are busy playing indoor games instead of playing outside in the open and they aren’t exposed to sunlight to get necessary vitamin D. Children get vitamin D from the food they eat but food alone cannot provide the amount of Vitamin D their body needs,” informed Dr Shrestha.
Nowadays, children living in cities are deprived of direct sunlight due to which many children in city are having Vitamin D deficiency. Nutrition and genetic factors also contribute to Vitamin deficiency in children.
“Pain in legs, bone deformity and slow growth rate, among others, are symp toms of vitamin D deficiency,” informed Dr Ganendra Raya, paediatrician at Siddhi Memorial Hospital, Bhaktapur.
Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and immunity. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with deteriorating bone health and in severe cases, hypoglycemia, rickets, and osteomalacia in children and adults.
Children who are on exclusive breast feeding and below one year of age are recommended for Vitamin D supplement. “Preterm babies should be given the supplement so as to save them from rickets as they are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency,” said Dr Thapa.
To help children get enough Vitamin D, children should be exposed to sunlight, provided with nutritious food and a regular visit to paediatricians is a must, according to doctors.