COLUMBIA, Mo. - A University of Missouri study shows vitamin D may lower the risk of diabetes in obese children and teens.
Obesity increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is a disease in which too much sugar is in the blood.
Data from the past two years show more than a third of children and teens in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
Researches at MU hope they've found a way to fight it.
Childhood and teen obesity, along with poor health choices and lack of exercise, directly correlate with the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.
"We know the rate of childhood obesity is going up in America. That is no big surprise to anybody. It is a concern for the general population, and it does cause problems like diabetes," said Dr. Scott Schultz from Providence Urgent Care.
MU studied 35 obese children and teens who were vitamin D deficient.
The difference between those who are obese and their skinnier counterparts is that obese people process only half of the vitamin D.
Some of the patients studied were given a vitamin D supplement, while others were given a placebo pill.
The study authors say, "By increasing vitamin D intake alone, we got a response that was nearly as powerful as what we have seen using prescription drugs. We saw a decrease in insulin levels, which means better glucose control, despite no change in body height, dietary intake or physical activity."
Catherine Peterson from the state Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology says the supplements are natural and an inexpensive solution.