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Vitamin D deficiency affects 14 percent of U.S. children and is dangerously common among the black population, where 50 percent of teens are affected, according to a national study conducted at New York Hospital Queens and reported on by NY1 news.
Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to a number of serious problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, immune dysfunction and poor bone health. Obese children are especially prone to deficiencies.
"In black teens, we worry even more, because there is a high prevalence of obesity," Dr Sandy Saintonge told the news provider. "There are many risk factors for diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and hypertension in this group as well. So vitamin D may actually be the answer to solving a lot of these problems."
Doctors at the hospital are trying to find ways to incorporate more vitamin D into the diets of the affected children, according to NY1. A simple blood test is all that is needed to diagnose a vitamin D deficiency.
A recent study appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed a decrease in vitamin D levels in the U.S. population since 1988.
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