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During growth, severe vitamin D deficiency in childhood can result in symptomatic hypocalcaemia and rickets. Despite the suggestion from some studies of a secular increase in the incidence of rickets, this observation may be driven more by changes in population demographics than a true alteration to age, sex and ethnicity-specific incidence rates; indeed, rickets remains uncommon overall and is rarely seen in fair-skinned children. Additionally, the impact of less severe vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency has received much interest in recent years, and in this review, we consider the evidence relating vitamin D status to fracture risk and bone mineral density (BMD) in childhood and adolescence. We conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support the suggestion that low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] increases childhood fracture risk. Overall, the relationship between 25(OH)D and BMD is inconsistent across studies and across skeletal sites within the same study; however, there is evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplementation in children with the lowest levels of 25(OH)D might improve BMD. High-quality randomised trials are now required to confirm this benefit.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00198-014-2783-5

Type

Journal article

Journal

Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA

Publication Date

12/2014

Volume

25

Pages

2673 - 2684

Addresses

MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK.

Keywords

Humans, Rickets, Vitamin D Deficiency, Vitamin D, Bone Density, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Osteoporotic Fractures