D-Lightful Health: All you need to know about Vitamin D deficiency in children

D-Lightful Health: All you need to know about Vitamin D deficiency in children

Written by Dr. Nihar Parekh
Published: November 24, 2023

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Table of Contents
arrow-right Effects of Vitamin D deficiency
arrow-right How to detect Vitamin D deficiency
arrow-right Managing Vitamin D deficiency
arrow-right Vitamin D-rich diet
arrow-right Exposure to sun
arrow-right Physical activity
arrow-right Regular health check-ups
arrow-right Supplementation for Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is extremely important for the growth and development of a child right through infancy, i.e., immediately after birth through toddlerhood, pre-school, school-going, and adolescent age. It has a strong role to play even in adulthood and old age.

Often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, its significance extends far beyond mere bone health. Yet, due to our modern lifestyles, Vitamin D deficiency is on the rise. Adequate care needs to be taken to prevent this deficiency and supplement the Vitamin D intake.

Effects of Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency causes the bones to get soft, even in children under two years of age. This can start causing rickets, which is the most common presentation of Vitamin D deficiency. In adolescents, it can lead to weak and brittle bones, which can cause easy fractures and postural problems in the future. Along with bone and teeth problems, Vitamin D deficiency also leads to other subtle clinical manifestations like overall poor development and immunity, recurring sicknesses, poor skin elasticity, and hair growth. Vitamin D also has a role to play in managing the circadian rhythm of children.

d-lightful-health-all-you-need-to-know-about-vitamin-d-deficiency-in-children-2To check how good your child’s Nutrition Score is, use the Nutricheck App on the Tayyari Jeet Ki website.

How to detect Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency causing rickets can be picked up early by parents if your child has excessive sweating, excessive frontal bossing (the forehead pops out a little more), and bowing of legs more than normal. Delayed dentition, absence of teeth for long, and recurrent coughs and colds can mean that the immune system isn’t receiving enough Vitamin D.

Managing Vitamin D deficiency

In addressing Vitamin D deficiency, a comprehensive approach involves not only understanding its effects but also implementing effective strategies for management. By incorporating these strategies into daily life, parents and caregivers can manage the deficiency. Let’s delve into some tips to manage Vitamin D deficiency:

Vitamin D-rich diet

Include foods rich in Vitamin D in your diet such as fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks. These foods provide a natural source of Vitamin D and contribute to overall nutritional well-being.

Exposure to sun

Ensuring regular and safe exposure to sunlight is a crucial component of managing Vitamin D deficiency. By spending time outdoors during optimal hours, your children will not only enjoy the benefits of sunlight but also aid in the natural synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin.

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Physical activity

Besides maintaining a diet rich in Vitamin D and ensuring exposure to sunlight, your children also need an active lifestyle. Encouraging them to take part in sports to their liking, going on walks with them, or keeping them physically active indoors, is not only going to support their overall health but also enhance the body's response to Vitamin D.

Regular health check-ups

Routine health check-ups are necessary to monitor Vitamin D levels in children as well as adults. This proactive measure allows for early detection of deficiencies or any emerging health concerns, enabling timely intervention.

Supplementation for Vitamin D deficiency

If Vitamin D is deficient clinically, the paediatrician will take an aggressive route of replacing Vitamin D, by prescribing a booster course, which can go up to 6 lacs units, given as weekly or monthly doses. Apart from good nutrition, and adequate sunlight, the maintenance courses of Vitamin D can also include daily doses of either 400, 600, 800, or 1000 IU.

The Institute of Medicine has recommended adequate intake based on levels needed to maintain optimal bone health in all members of a healthy population. The current daily AI is 200 IU for infants, children, and adults younger than 51 years; 400 IU for adults 51 to 70 years of age; and 600 IU for adults older than 70 years.


To check how good your child’s Nutrition Score is, use the Nutricheck App on the Tayyari Jeet Ki website. Click here to get started.

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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