Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit

Table of Content

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Section X:  Additional Toolkit Topics: Smoking, Sunscreen Use, and Breastfeeding


Lack of Sun Exposure - Vitamin D Deficiency


There are also risks of too little sun,  Exposure to the sun helps our bodies make vitamin D and lack of exposure to the sun can cause a vitamin D deficiency.  Among children, vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of rickets.  Individuals with limited sun exposure need to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet (egg yolks, cow milk, fortified breakfast cereals, infant formulas, and orange juice; fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, and herring; shrimp; and chicken liver).  


Despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, patients should be advised to limit exposure to skin to sunlight.


Note:  The AAP recently doubled its recommendation for a daily dose of vitamin D in children.  It is now recommended that all infants and children, including adolescents, have a minimum daily intake of 400 iu/day beginning in the first few days of life. Any breastfeeding infant, regardless of whether he or she is being supplemented with formula, should be supplemented with 400 iu/day, because it is unlikely that a breastfed infant would consume 1 L (~1 qt) of formula per day, the amount that would supply 400 iu/day of vitamin D (Wagner et al., 2008.)