Living a heart-healthy lifestyle isn’t very complicated. Eat whole foods, stay active and relax whenever you get the chance. However, you may want to add “get plenty of sunlight” to that list now thanks to a study recently presented to the Endocrine Society.
The study found a correlation between a lack of vitamin D and early signs of heart disease in children and teens who are overweight or obese. Out of the children studied, those with a lack of vitamin D were more likely to have elevated levels of cholesterol.
Could a child heart disease treatment that includes plenty of sunlight be prescribed by doctors? The study authors say the results suggest screening for a vitamin D deficiency in childhood may aid a child heart disease treatment later.
How Is Vitamin D Related to Heart Disease?
The links between obesity and heart disease have been well-established. Lead author Doctor Marisa Censani said the research is newsworthy because it is among the first to examine the relationship of vitamin D deficiency to cholesterol levels and other markers of heart risk in children and teens who are overweight.
Dr. Censani and her colleagues reviewed the medical records of patients between 6 and 17 years of age who were evaluated at the pediatric endocrinology outpatient clinics at Weill Cornell Medicine over a two-year period. Of the 332 patients, 178 met the criteria for being overweight or obese.
Cholesterol levels and atherogenic lipid levels were all found to be significantly higher in kids with a vitamin D deficiency than in those without a deficiency.
According to Dr. Censani, “These results support screening children and adolescents with overweight and obesity for vitamin D deficiency and the potential benefits of improving vitamin D status to reduce cardiometabolic risk.”