World PB&J Day: Kids and Vitamin D

October 19, 2012
RheumatologyNetwork Staff

For Pediatric Bone & Joint Day, the US Bone and Joint Initiative draws public attention to some difficult issues about vitamin D deficiency and kids.

October 19 is not World Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. It's World Pediatric Bone & Joint Day, part of global annual Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week sponsored by the US Bone and Joint Initiative.
To commemorate PB&J Day, the USBJI is drawing the public's attention to two case studies of severe musculoskeletal problems due to vitamin D deficiency, featuring teenaged boys. In both cases, correcting the problem required more than just taking vitamin D supplements.

The announcement draws attention to two common but non-obvious causes of pediatric vitamin D deficiency in the United States: Lack of sufficient exposure to sunshine in northern states, and dark skin type.

The CDC has reported that non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency as compared to non-Hispanic whites.

It is almost impossible to obtain adequate amounts of vitamin D through diet alone, the USBJI observes. Consistent use of sunscreen also reduces exposure to vitamin D in sunlight.

The USBJI release acknowledges controversy about the optimal daily dose of vitamin D, but echoes the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine in recommending a daily dose for adolescents and adults of at least 600 mg/day.