Below are releases on studies appearing in the May issue of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
For Release: Monday, May 3, 2010 12:01 am (ET)
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY NOT JUST A PROBLEM FOR NORTHERNERS
While a number of studies have documented low vitamin D levels in children living in northern climates, a new study shows it is also a problem in sunny climates of the southern U.S., particularly for black adolescents. The study, “Low 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Adolescents: Race, Season, Adiposity, Physical Activity, and Fitness,” published in the June print issue of Pediatrics (published online May 3), measured plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in 559 black and white adolescents ages 14 to 18 years in Augusta, Ga. Vitamin D levels were tested in all four seasons of the year. More than half (56.4 percent) of the adolescents had vitamin D insufficiency, and 28.8 percent had vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D levels were lowest in winter compared to other seasons of the year. Black teenagers had significantly lower vitamin D levels in every season of the year compared to white teenagers. Adolescents with a higher body mass index had lower vitamin D levels.
JUST BEING OBESE CAN ATTRACT BULLIES
Parents of obese children rate bullying as their top health concern, and obese children who are bullied experience more depression, anxiety and loneliness. To develop effective strategies to address this problem, researchers sought to confirm that the child’s weight status is actually the primary factor underlying the bullying. In the study, “Weight Status as a Predictor of Being Bullied in Third Through Sixth Grades,” published in the June print issue of Pediatrics (published online May 3), researchers studied 821 children and their weight status and reported bullying, as well as a list of other attributes that study authors hypothesized may affect a child’s risk of being bullied. They found none of these factors played a role. Obese children had higher odds of being bullied no matter their gender, race, family socioeconomic status, school demographic profile, social skills or academic achievement. The authors conclude that being obese, by itself, increases the likelihood of being a victim of bullying. Authors suggest interventions to address bullying in schools are badly needed. Also, because stigmatization of obese children remains pervasive, health care providers who are caring for obese children should consider the role that bullying may play in the child’s well-being.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.