Vitamin D, Exercise, and Body Composition in Young Children and Adolescents



Vitamin D is now more correctly categorized as a seco-steroid prohormone, rather than as a nutrient or a vitamin. The primary function of vitamin D is thought to be the maintenance of calcium and phosphate homeostasis and skeletal integrity throughout life. Although persistent severe vitamin D deficiency results in the bone disease rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, low vitamin D status can influence musculoskeletal health at any age. Numerous epidemiological studies suggest that vitamin D deficiency and/or insufficiency are global problems for growing children and adolescents. An adequate vitamin D status in children and adolescents is associated with higher levels of lean body mass and muscle strength levels. On the contrary, vitamin D deficiency in children and adolescents is associated with elevation of PTH level, increased bone remodelling rates and a reduction in bone mass. Thus, avoiding vitamin D deficiency by ensuring an adequate supply throughout childhood and adolescence might enhance physical growth and bone mass accretion, which ultimately could reduce the risk of osteoporotic fracture later in life. Furthermore, in recent years, the positive association of vitamin D status with many non-skeletal metabolic processes such as antiproliferative, differentiation, and immunosuppressive effects, has been related a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, various types of cancers and type-I diabetes. However, this review will be focused on the importance of vitamin D status on body composition and bone growth in children and adolescents.


Bone Mass Bone Mineral Content Lean Body Mass Adolescent Girl Adequate Vitamin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



25-Hydroxyvitamin D


1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D


Areal bone mineral density


Adequate intake


Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society


Bone area


Bone mineral content


Body mass index


Dietary reference intakes


Dual-photon energy X-ray absorptiometry


Estimated average requirements


Fat body mass


Lean body mass


Lumbar spine


Minimal erythemal dose


Physical activity


Parathyroid hormone


Ultraviolet light



Sincere appreciation and gratitude are extended to Professor Dr. David Fraser, for his excellent mentorship and his sharing of critical comments and intellectual thoughts throughout the preparation of this chapter.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program of Nutrition, School of Health SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaKubang KerianMalaysia

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