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Expert Opinions

Expert Opinions Archive
Do I need to supplement my newborn's diet with vitamin D?

J.D., Philadelphia



A recent study showed that providing girls with supplemental vitamin D during infancy may give them a head start on preventing osteoporosis in later life. The study looked at more than 100 girls, ranging in age from seven to nine years. Those who had been given vitamin D supplements during their first year of life had higher bone mineral densities than those who hadn't received the vitamin (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 12/99).

The body makes vitamin D when exposed to bright sunlight. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org), infants who live in cold climates or urban areas where they do not get enough sunlight may need vitamin D supplements. If your infant is fair-skinned, 15 minutes of sunshine a week should be adequate for vitamin D production. Darker-skinned babies need a bit more sun. If you can't get outdoors with your child, vitamin D comes in drops if you are nursing, and is also in prepared baby formula. Discuss proper dosages with your child's pediatrician.

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