Food and Behaviour Research

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16 January 2017 - VitaminDCouncil - Less than half of infants meet the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for vitamin D

Vitamin D Council


Vitamin D status in pregnancy and early life has repeatedly been shown to have an important influence on child developmental outcomes - with deficiencies apparently raising the risk for a wide range of behaviour and learning as well as other health problems in the resulting offspring. See for example:
As this study shows, however, most US mothers are still failing to meet current guidelines for optimal Vitamin D intake for their infants, whether via breast- or bottle-feeding.

Read the related research here:

A recent study published by the journal Annals of Family Medicine (AAP) evaluated mothers’ preferences for providing their infants with vitamin D in a primary care setting.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends mothers supplement their infants with 400 IU vitamin D per day, regardless of whether the infant is breastfed, partially breastfed or bottle-fed. However, adherence to these recommendations is low. Additionally, there is a lack of understanding regarding mother’s preference for supplementing their baby with vitamin D.

In an effort to better understand mothers’ habits for providing their infants with vitamin D, researchers provided a questionnaire to mothers with infants between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 months who were receiving primary care at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A total of 184 women were included in the study; 140 of which exclusively breastfed and 44 gave their infant both breast and fortified milk.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • A total of 138 mothers supplemented with a multivitamin containing vitamin D.
  • Despite the 73% of mothers acknowledging that their physician recommended supplementing their infant with vitamin D, only 55% of mothers complied.
  • Of these mothers, only 42% supplied their infants with the AAP recommended dose of 400 IU.
  • Non-white mothers were more likely to supplement their infants than those of Caucasian descent (p = 0.04).
  • Most mothers deemed the process of supplementing their infant with vitamin D simple, with only 5.7% of women finding it difficult.
  • A total of 88.4% of women preferred to supplement themselves with vitamin D as opposed to their infant.
  • Over half of the individuals (57%) favored daily supplementation compared to monthly dosing.
  • The most common reason for not supplementing their infant with vitamin D was due to a lack of knowledge.

The researchers concluded,

"Less than one-half the infants in this study met the AAP recommendation for vitamin D supplementation of breastfed and bottle-fed infants.”