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March 3, 2010 > Vitamin D helps fight Juvenile Diabetes

Vitamin D helps fight Juvenile Diabetes

Submitted By Jardine Bruce

Research finds that children who get their daily dose of Vitamin D have a reduced risk of developing Type 1 diabetes - the second most common chronic disease in kids today second to asthma. Battling the disease, which could lead to blindness, kidney failure and heart problems, is no child's play. A recent finding in the journal "Diabetologia" shows that sun exposure, the number one source of Vitamin D, can reduce the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes. Additionally, an author of the study, Dr. Cedric Garland of the University of California, San Diego Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, says foods rich in Vitamin D like milk could aid in this effort. This winter, Garland joins the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) - the creator of GOT MILK? - to educate Californian families about the role of vitamin D in preventing Type 1 diabetes of children.

"While rickets has been a commonly-known disease that develops among children who lack Vitamin D, this study shows that other more serious problems could develop such as Type 1 diabetes," says Garland who co-authored the study titled, 'The Association Between Ultraviolet B Irradiance, Vitamin D Status and Incidence Rates of Type 1 Diabetes in 51 Regions Worldwide.' The co-authors of the study are S. Mohr, C, Garland, E. Gorham, and F. Garland. "Education and early prevention are key to battling this health problem among children," Garland added.

Medical experts say about 15,000 new cases of Type 1 diabetes in children are diagnosed each year in the United States. The study's findings reveal that Vitamin D intake, obtained through sunlight, reduces the chances of Type 1 juvenile diabetes by about 80 percent. Because milk is also one of the best and natural sources of this vitamin, Garland recommends that children include Vitamin D fortified foods in their daily diet, in addition to modest amounts of sunlight daily, and a vitamin D3 supplement, to reduce the risk.

The research study also highlights the need for Vitamin D especially in regions with low sun exposure. The good news is that while getting some sunrays is harder during the winter months, milk is available year-round.

"Many parents already know that milk is the ideal food for growing kids to build strong bones, muscles and teeth," says Steve James, executive director of the CMPB. "Now, breakthrough research shows that there's another reason why milk should be served at the dinner table."

Garland has highlighted some tips for parents on how to keep their kids healthy with Vitamin D.

Outdoor Play - The sun can be your friend, not to mention the easiest, most fun way to obtain Vitamin D. Experts suggest children go outside and play for 10 to 15 minutes daily between 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Limit unprotected sun exposure to that time period and apply sunscreen thereafter.

GOT MILK? - Milk is a natural source of Vitamin D and helps in the absorption of calcium. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children get at least 1000 mg of calcium daily, which is the equivalent of three cups of milk.

Watch Out for Supplements - While supplements are readily available in stores, Garland says not all supplements are created equal. Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the most effective form of Vitamin D supplement. Milk already naturally contains Vitamin D3.

To read the study and to learn more tips on how to prevent Vitamin D deficiency, visit,

The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California. Awareness of GOT MILK? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of the most important and successful campaigns in history. GOT MILK? is a federally registered trademark. The CMPB is funded by all California milk processors and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

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