Parents are always telling their children to get out from behind their screens and play outdoors—and now there's a compelling health reason why they could be right.
Children with low levels of vitamin D—the 'sunshine' vitamin—are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) even when they are very young.
In fact, they are more than twice as likely to become hypertensive between the ages of three and 18 if their vitamin D levels are always low. Children born with reduced levels run a 60 per cent increased risk of hypertension.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University made the discovery when they tested vitamin D levels in 775 children from the time they were born and until their 18th birthday.
Children who aren't getting enough sunshine should be given vitamin D supplements or foods rich in the vitamin, such as eggs and salmon, the researchers say.