The researchers from Saint Mary's Hospital for Women and Children in Manchester, UK, in a study conducted on otherwise healthy teen girls that they have a reduced amount of the vitamin.
The researchers have also noted that white girls had significantly higher levels of Vitamin D when compared with the non-white counterparts. The study has also suggested that the reason for this would be due to the 'reduced sunshine exposure', rather than diet. Dr. M. Zulf Mughal and colleagues have also cautioned that, "Vitamin D deficiency during childhood and adolescence might impair the acquisition of peak bone mass at the end of skeletal growth and maturation, thereby increasing the risk of osteoporotic fractures later in life."
In their study that they and reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, Dr Mughal and his team conducted their study by measuring Vitamin D levels in 14 white and 37 non-whites, 14-16-year-old who were attending an inner city multi-ethnic girls' school in the UK. They found in their study that on an average 73% of the girls was vitamin D deficient with around 17% severely deficient. The researchers also found that the average vitamin D levels were, however, higher in white girls than in non-white girls.
The researchers explained that they had then linked the deficiency of vitamins to the estimated duration of exposure to daily sunlight and also to the percentage of body surface area that was exposed. They stated that they did not take into consideration the amount of dietary intake of vitamins. The researcher team said, "This is in keeping with the fact that the main source of vitamin D is that produced by the action of acting on 7-dehydrocholesterol in skin, with only a small amounts obtained from dietary sources."
The researchers further mentioned that there would be a possibility of the religious and cultural beliefs, like the wearing of concealing clothing and restriction of outdoor activities might also have a role in the difference in vitamin levels, as mentioned in the previous studies conducted on 'Saudi Arabian adolescents'.
Dr. N. J. Bishop, from the University of Sheffield, UK, had expressed his apprehension for problems that could arise if there was a failure to supply an essential nutrient during a period of rapid growth and development. Bishop had stressed on the importance of looking after the needs of older children and adolescents in cultures that avoid sunlight. He felt that maybe more exercise in the outdoors would help deal with this problem.