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Vitamin D

By Hanan Saleh

Paediatric Dietician


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Written By Hanan Saleh

We obtain most of our Vitamin D from exposing our skin to sunlight. This is the reason why vitamin D is sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. So even a healthy, well balanced diet is unlikely to provide enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is different to all other vitamins because even though we call it a vitamin, it is actually a hormone and we can make it in our body. Children need vitamin D for bone growth and development. It helps your body absorb calcium for strong healthy bones and teeth. So even if you have a calcium-rich diet by consuming plenty of dairy foods, without enough vitamin D you cannot absorb the calcium into your bones and cells where it is needed. Some babies are born with low levels of vitamin D levels; this can result in rickets. Rickets is a term used for softening of the bones, typically causing bowed legs. It can cause permanent deformities to the bone, weaken muscles and reduced growth. Older children who do not get enough vitamin D can also develop rickets.

How much Vitamin D do Kids need?

How much sunlight do you need?

To get enough sunlight for your body to make vitamin D, your hands, face and arms need to be exposed to sunlight for about five to 15 minutes four to six times a week in summer. During the winter, we get vitamin D from our body’s stores and from food sources. You can boost the benefits of being out in the sun for a little while each day by doing some physical activity while you’re there. This is because daily exercise helps your body make vitamin D.[iv]

Age RDI IU*/day
Infants 0 to 6 months 1000
7-12 months
1 to 3 years old
4 to 8 years old
Source: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand[v] *IU= international units

 

 

 

 

Highest sources of Vitamin D per serve

Vitamin D and food

Only a few foods naturally contain vitamin D. In Australia, fortified margarine appears to be the major dietary source of vitamin D, together with fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel, and eggs. But most people only get about a ¼ of their vitamin D needs from food.[vi]

 

FOOD SERVE SIZE VITAMIN D PER SERVE (IU)
Salmon, cooked 85g 500
Salmon, tinned 85g 400
Mackerel 85g 350
Sardines, tinned 2 sardines 46
Tuna, tinned 85g 154
Eggs 1 egg 41
Meat 75g 36
Beef liver 85g 42
Milk 1 cup 100
Soy milk 1 cup 123
Yoghurt 175g 70
Cheese 25g or 1 slice 6
Margarine/butter 1 Tablespoon 60
Mushrooms, white ½ cup 20
Cod liver oil* 1 teaspoon (5mL) 400

Source:

2015 Food Standards Australia New Zealand food nutrient data base last accessed 18/7/15 [vii]http://www.foodstandards.gov.au
By Hanan Saleh 1 August 2015 references

Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor for underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. Parents should exercise caution with vitamins and supplements and monitor their children’s intake of these and other foods to ensure that kids do not get too much of these nutrients. This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner. The development of this document is not influenced by commercial organisations.

  • current version

    Hanan Saleh
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Hanan Saleh
  • document id

  • next review

    10.08.2017

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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Vitamin D

nutrition

Children need vitamin D for bone growth and development. It helps your body absorb calcium for strong healthy bones and teeth.

By Evelyn Lewin 01.08.2015
references
  • current version

    Hanan Saleh
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Hanan Saleh
  • document id

    1203450
  • next review

    10.08.2017

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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