Study Suggests All Children Should be Screened for Vitamin D Levels

To reduce the risk of severe fracture, all children should be monitored for vitamin D status, argue the authors of a paper presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America.

“Lower vitamin D levels are associated with surgical treatment of fractures, and therefore potentially permanent disability,” explained Dr. Barbara Minkowitz.

Minkowitz, who is in private practice with the Children’s Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center in Morristown, N.J., presented data from her paper, “Association of Pediatric Fractures with Serum Vitamin D Levels Compared to Non-fracture Community Controls.”

Minkowitz explained that the study found no significant correlation between vitamin D levels and gender, age (except for patients younger than five years), sunscreen use, outdoor play, fracture history, season, and body mass index. Neither were parameters such as multivitamin use, mechanism of injury, and eating habits correlated to fracture severity.

“In summary, patients in both the control and fracture groups had comparable vitamin D levels overall,” she said, “although the likelihood of surgical fracture increased when vitamin D was less than 30 ng/mL.

“At-risk groups included those younger than five years of age described as poor eaters; Hispanics, African Americans, and other people of color; and surgical fracture patients,” she concluded.

The authors recommend that all children be screened for vitamin D serum levels and supplemented with vitamin D and calcium.

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