International Journal of Medical and Health Research

International Journal of Medical and Health Research


International Journal of Medical and Health Research
International Journal of Medical and Health Research
Vol. 2, Issue 12 (2016)

A study on the significance of sunlight exposure and vitamin D status in breastfed infants


Sushil Kumar Pathak, Pankaj Kumar Kashyap

Objective: To correlate the sunlight exposure in first 6 months to vitamin D status at 6 months of age in predominantly breastfed infants; and to quantify the sunlight exposure required to achieve serum 25(OH)D level >20 ng/mL, by 6 months of age Design: Prospective cohort. Setting: Tertiary-care hospital predominantly catering to urban poor population in Bihar. Participants: 132 healthy infants, delivered at term, and predominantly breastfed were enrolled at 6-8 weeks of age. Of these, 100 infants were available for final evaluation at 6 months of age (mean (SD) follow-up: 126 (17) days). Methods: Baseline maternal vitamin D (serum 25(OH)D) levels were obtained at enrolment. The mothers were asked to maintain a daily record of duration of sunlight exposure, timing of exposure, and body surface area exposed, for the infant, on a pre-designed proforma, till the child was 6 months of age. Infant’s serum 25(OH)D was measured at 6 months of age. Main outcome measures: Cumulative Sun Index was calculated as a composite measure of overall duration/time/body surface area exposed to sunlight; and correlated with the infant serum 25(OH)D after adjusting for baseline maternal serum 25(OH)D levels, season of exposure, and skin color of the infant. Sun index for exposure in morning (before 10 am) and afternoon (10 am-3 pm) were also correlated to vitamin D status. Results: Of 100 mother-infant pairs completing the study, 90 mothers had vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D 20 ng/mL) by 6 months of age. Conclusions: There is a significant positive correlation between afternoon sunlight exposure and infant’s vitamin D levels, independent of maternal vitamin D status. Randomized controlled trials are suggested to explore the effectiveness of this simple intervention to prevent or treat vitamin D deficiency in children.
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How to cite this article:
Sushil Kumar Pathak, Pankaj Kumar Kashyap. A study on the significance of sunlight exposure and vitamin D status in breastfed infants. International Journal of Medical and Health Research, Volume 2, Issue 12, 2016, Pages 82-86
International Journal of Medical and Health Research