Kids who are deficient in vitamin D gained weight more rapidly than kids who got enough vitamin D, and since you get the D vitamin mainly from being out in the sun, this is probably because they're spending too much time inside in front of the TV and not getting enough exercise. And this doesn't just happen in the US: Epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor studied a group of Columbian kids for almost 3 years, measuring their vitamin D levels regularly. He says, "We found that the kids with the lowest vitamin D levels at the beginning tended to gain weight faster than the kids with higher levels." This sets them up for a future of bad health, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
In the November 13th edition of the Telegraph, Rebecca Smith writes that middleclass children in England are suffering from the "17th century disease" of rickets, since they spend so little time outdoors. One-third of kids under 20 weigh more than they should, and effective strategies to fight the epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity have been elusive. A new study suggests a simple step that might help cut the problem down to size, especially for girls: start school sooner. A new study found that girls who were born a month or less before the cutoff date for school enrollment--and so started school when younger than most of their classmates--were significantly less likely to be overweight during adolescence than those who were born during the month after cutoff.
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