Vitamin D and skeletal health in infancy and childhood.
Moon RJ., Harvey NC., Davies JH., Cooper C.
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.