Obese kids have lower vitamin D levels and are more insulin-resistant, study finds
Low levels of vitamin D are more prevalent in obese children, and that may help lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.
In a recent study of obese and non-overweight children, researchers found low levels of vitamin D were significantly more prevalent in obese children, and obese children had higher levels of insulin resistance, according to a Dec. 5 news brief from the Endocrine Society.
“Poor dietary habits such as skipping breakfast and increased soda and juice intake were associated with the lower vitamin D levels seen in obese children,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Micah Olson of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.
The study will be published in January in the society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
“Our study found that obese children with lower vitamin D levels had higher degrees of insulin resistance,” Olson said in the news release. “Although our study cannot prove causation, it does suggest that low vitamin D levels may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.”
Olson said more study is needed to determine the significance of lower vitamin D levels in obese kids, the level of treatment needed to replenish their vitamin D levels and whether vitamin D treatment can improve clinical outcomes such as insulin resistance.
Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, a disease in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or resists the effects of insulin.
Typically diagnosed after age 40, type 2 diabetes has also become a growing problem among children and adolescent, possibly due to physical inactivity and obesity among young people and exposure to diabetes in utero, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.