Research recently presented at the 2017 Annual meeting of the Endocrine Society suggests that levels of the sunshine vitamin are closely linked to risk markers for heart disease in children who are obese – which is itself a risk factor for vitamin D deficiency.
“These findings suggest that vitamin D deficiency may have negative effects on specific lipid markers with an increase in cardiovascular risk among children and adolescents," said lead author Dr Marisa Censani from New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine.
"This research is newsworthy because this is one of the first studies to assess the relationship of vitamin D deficiency to both lipoprotein ratios and non-high density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol, specific lipid markers impacting cardiovascular risk during childhood, in children and adolescents with obesity/overweight," Censani noted.
Censani and her colleagues reviewed the medical records – including vitamin D levels – of children and adolescents between 6 and 17 years of age over a two-year period. Participants in the study were all outpatients at the pediatric endocrinology clinics at Weill Cornell Medicine, the team noted.
In total, 178 of 332 patients met criteria for overweight and obesity, which included having a Body Mass Index (BMI) above the 85th percentile. Of those, 60 patients with BMI above the 85th percentile had fasting lipid test results available.
Analysis showed that vitamin D deficiency was significantly associated with an increase in atherogenic lipids and markers of early cardiovascular disease, said the authors.
Total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, non-HDL cholesterol, as well as total cholesterol/HDL and triglyceride/HDL ratios, were all higher in vitamin D-deficient patients compared to patients without vitamin D deficiency.
"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," Censani said.