The first signs of heart disease can be detected in children as young as five, says a new research.
Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D in adults are linked to cardiovascular disease, as well as other health issues such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Canadian researchers studied the levels of vitamin D and non-HDL cholesterol levels in children aged one to five.
The researchers analyzed blood samples from 1,961 children ages one to five attending well-child visits.
All the children were enrolled in the TARGet Kids! project led by doctors and researchers from St. Michael's Hospital.
The study found significant association between higher vitamin D levels and lower non-HDL cholesterol.
The children in the study had two cups of milk per day - that was their main source of vitamin D. While 56 percent of them regularly consumed vitamin D supplement as well.
"Maybe the factors that lead to cardiovascular disease start in early childhood. If vitamin D is associated with cholesterol in early childhood, this may provide an opportunity for early life interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk," said Dr. Jonathan Maguire, an author on the paper and a pediatrician and researcher at St. Michael's Hospital.
Children who had a fair amount of vitamin D were less likely to have bad cholesterol, even after taking into account such things as Body Mass Index, diet and physical activity.
"What we have found is that children with lower vitamin D levels had higher levels of non-HDL cholesterol. This suggests that cardiovascular disease may start when we are very little and persist throughout our lives," Maguire warned.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.