A study by the University of Michigan has revealed a possible connection between Vitamin D deficiency and weight gain, for kids lacking in Vitamin D began to accumulate fat around the waist.
Accumulation of abdominal fat, or central fat, may lead to a so-called apple body shape, which is commonly linked to increased risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions later in life, says epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor, senior author of the study.
The investigators recruited a group of 479 school children ages 5-12 from Bogota, Colombia, in 2006 and followed them for about 30 months.
They measured vitamin D in blood taken at the beginning of the study, and then examined the link between vitamin D levels and changes in three indicators of body fat over time: body mass index, waist circumference and subscapular-to-triceps skin fold ratio.
"We found that the kids with the lowest vitamin D levels at the beginning tended to gain weight faster than the kids with higher levels," said Villamor.
He added that children with the lowest vitamin D levels had more drastic increases in central body fat measures.
Vitamin D deficiency was also linked to slower growth in height among girls but not boys, he said.
The paper is available this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.