Vitamin D is known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, and that’s because our bodies are able to produce it by the action of sunlight containing UVB radiation on certain chemicals within the skin.
Vitamin D is important for children for the following:
So, growing children need vitamin D – it is important for kid’s health.
Most of the UK is positioned above 50° north of the Earth’s Equator. It was calculated that the latitudes beneath 37°N, UVB radiation was sufficient for all-round vitamin D production(1), so in the UK, sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis is only effective between late March/early April and September and not from October onwards throughout the Winter months.
Besides latitude, exposure of skin to UVB radiation is influenced by many factors; these include time of day, season, altitude, cloud cover, air pollution, clothing and sunscreen use.
A scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition report(2) found evidence that the risk of poor musculoskeletal health is increased when a person has blood levels of less than 25nmol/l of vitamin D. People in the UK were found to have lower levels of vitamin D in the winter than in the summer, with up to 40% having winter levels lower than 25nmol/l.
As we can’t rely on the sun so that our children can make vitamin D, we can make sure that we include some vitamin D rich foods in their diets. Good sources include:
The latest advice from Public Health England(3) is that everyone over the age of one should be taking a daily supplement of 10 mcg (400 iu) of vitamin D, particularly during autumn and winter.
If you are looking for a children’s vitamin D supplement Haliborange Calcium and Vitamin D Softies contain 100% of the Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)
To learn more about vitamin D for kids watch our Expert video with nutritionist Shona Wilkinson