A lack of vitamin D in teenagers could leave them susceptible to developing heart disease and diabetes in later life, a study suggests.
Research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the USA found that people aged 12–19 with low levels of vitamin D in their bodies had more than double the normal risk of high blood pressure.
The study of 3,577 young people also found vitamin-deficient youngsters were 2.5 times more likely to have high blood sugar and four times more at risk of metabolic syndrome – including symptoms such as a fat waist, raised levels of triglyceride blood fats and low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol – all associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
A person's risk of developing diabetes and heart disease are increased by exhibiting three or more of these symptoms.
Study leader Dr Jared Reis said: "We showed strong associations between low levels of vitamin D and higher risk of high blood pressure, hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) and metabolic syndrome among adolescents, confirming the results of studies among adults."