In response to the continued increase in the incidence of rickets in the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that all breast-fed infants receive a minimum of 200 IU of vitamin D daily.
Rickets, which is characterized by bowed legs and widened wrists, affects about nine in 1 million children.
According to a report that appeared in the April edition of Pediatrics, infants consuming any formulas sold in the United States receive an adequate amount of vitamin D as long as they are consuming at least 500 ml of formula daily.
Breast milk, however, does not contain enough vitamin D to protect against rickets. In the past, breast-fed infants, a population on the rise, produced the extra needed vitamin D through sun exposure. But increased concern about skin cancer means babies are spending less time in the sun.
The study recommends the following populations receive 200 IU of vitamin D daily:
- All breast-fed infants until weaned or drinking at least 500 ml of vitamin D-fortified milk or formula daily
- Nonbreast-fed infants consuming fewer than 17 ounces of fortified milk or formula
- Children and adolescents who drink fewer than two glasses of fortified milk daily, do not take a supplement with 200 IU vitamin D or do not get regular sunlight exposure.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 5/p.