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Vitamin D may cut diabetes risk in obese kids

Washington: Researchers have found that vitamin D supplements can help obese children and adolescents control their blood-sugar levels, which may help them stay clear off the disease.

Being obese puts individuals at greater risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

"By increasing vitamin D intake alone, we got a response that was nearly as powerful as what we have seen using a prescription drug," Catherine Peterson, an associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at MU, said.

"We saw a decrease in insulin levels, which means better glucose control, despite no changes in body weight, dietary intake or physical activity," he said.

Peterson and her colleagues studied 35 pre-diabetic obese children and adolescents who were undergoing treatment in the MU Adolescent Diabetic Obesity Program.

All study participants insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels and had similar diets and activity levels.

They randomly were assigned either a high-dose vitamin D supplement or a placebo that they took daily for six months. Those who took the supplement became vitamin D sufficient and lowered the amount of insulin in their blood.

Adding vitamin D supplements to their diets may be an effective addition to treating obesity and its associated insulin resistance," Peterson said.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.