Children who do not drink cows milk or drink other types of milk, such as rice, soy, goat or almond milk are at increased risk of low vitamin D levels, according to recent findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Children who do not get enough vitamin D may deal with bone and muscle difficulties as they age.
For the study, researchers included 2,831 children ages 1- 6 years old from seven pediatric or family medicine private practices in Toronto and cross-referenced participants blood levels of vitamin D to the types of milk they drank. The cross-sectional observational study was conducted through the TARGet Kids! (The Applied Research Group for Kids) practice-based research network in Toronto. TARGet Kids! is a collaboration between child health researchers in the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto and primary care physicians in the universitys department of pediatrics and department of family and community medicine. The study excluded children who had a condition affecting growth (e.g., failure to thrive, cystic fibrosis), a chronic illness (excluding asthma) or severe developmental delay.
We studied the association between non-cows milk consumption and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in healthy preschool-aged children, the study authors wrote. We also explored whether cows milk consumption modified this association and analyzed the association between daily non-cows milk and cows milk consumption.
About 85.4% of the sample drank cows milk, while 12.3% drank non-cows milk. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was below 50 nmol/L in 11.0% of the children who drank only non-cows milk and in 4.7% of those who drank only cows milk. The researchers discovered that children who drank only non-cows milk were more than twice as likely to be deficient in vitamin D when compared to children who drank only cows milk.
Among children who drank both types of milk, each additional cup of non-cows milk beverage consumed was associated with a 5% decrease in 25-hydroxyvitamin D level, the authors said. This association was consistent with our finding of an inverse association between non-cows milk and cows milk consumption and suggests a trade-off between consumption of cows milk fortified with higher levels of vitamin D and non-cows milk with lower vitamin D content.
The authors said the improved education regarding nutrition labels is important to ensure that non-cows milk products fortified with vitamin D are being chosen by parents and caregivers and can help parents make informed decisions about healthy beverages for their children.
Read the study: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2014/10/20/cmaj.140555.full.pdf+html