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Vitamin D for weight loss in obese children

obese child checking his stomach with a stethoscope

Credit: BigStock

Childhood obesity is a global health crisis affecting 41 million children under the age of five. It puts kids at risk for various debilitating conditions including heart disease and diabetes later in life. Recently, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased body fat accumulation and obesity, but the precise nature of this association on the weight and health of obese children is unclear.

The researchers found that children who took vitamin D supplementation had a significantly lower Body Mass Index, lower body fat as well as healthy levels of cholesterol.

To investigate the link between vitamin D supplementation and the weight and health of obese children and adolescents, researchers from the University of Athens Medical School assessed 232 obese children and adolescents for 12 months. The children were recruited from the Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital in Athens. Out of all the participants, 117 children were randomly assigned to receive 50,000 IU vitamin D supplementation for six weeks, in accordance with the Endocrine Society’s guidelines on the treatment and prevention of deficiency. The researchers assessed levels of vitamin D, body fat and blood markers of liver function and heart health at the beginning of the study and then again 12 months later.

The researchers found that children who took vitamin D supplementation had a significantly lower BMI (Body Mass Index), lower body fat as well as healthy levels of cholesterol. The findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation has the potential to reduce the risk of overweight and obese children developing serious heart and metabolic complications later in life. But researchers warn that there is a lack of evidence on the safety and long-term effects of vitamin D supplementation, particularly if vitamin D deficiency is not present.

The researchers plan to study the effects of vitamin D supplementation on the health of obese children and adolescents that have high blood pressure, high blood glucose and high cholesterol, which are all risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In the meantime, the researchers recommend that if your child is overweight or obese, then consult with your doctor and consider having their vitamin D levels tested.

Source: European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!