Vitamin D Status in Children and Its Relationship with Sunscreen Application


eMediNexus    23 December 2022

The present study characterized the prevalence and seasonal variation of vitamin D (Vit D) deficiency/insufficiency in healthy children and adolescents in Greece and explored its relationship with sunscreens. 


It measured the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) in 376 children and adolescents (184 males and 192 females) with a mean age of 7.6 ± 4.9 years at different time points over 13 months. 


The study observed:


  • 66.2% prevalence of low serum 25(OH)D level, including deficiency and insufficiency.
  • The lowest mean 25(OH)D in January (17.9 ± 6.8 ng/mL) and the highest in September, July, August and October (34.6 ± 8.7, 33.0 ± 9.4, 30.1 ± 8.2 and 30.1 ± 10.6 ng/mL, respectively).
  • Higher levels of serum 25(OH)D in the children who applied sunscreens on the beach or off the beach.
  • The subjects with deficiency and insufficiency were significantly older than those with normal levels of 25(OH)D; however, there wasnt any significant difference according to gender. 


This study highlights the high prevalence of low serum levels of 25(OH)D and their seasonal variation in children living in a region characterized by many hours of sunshine. These data suggest that the real-life use of sunscreens during the summer months permits the absorption of sufficient sunlight to enable the production of Vit D at a level adequate to maintain normal serum levels. The health care provider should give Vit D supplements to children during the months of lower sun exposure.


Source: Feketea GM, Bocsan IC, Tsiros G, et al. Vitamin D status in children in Greece and its relationship with sunscreen application. Children (Basel). 2021;8(2):111.

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