University’s £625,000 grant for vitamin D child obesity study

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RESEARCHERS in Sheffield have been handed more than £600,000 to carry out a study on whether obesity causes a lack of vitamin D in children and adults.

The grant of £625,000 was awarded to Sheffield University, which is working with specialist teams from Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals on their tests.

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

A lack of the vitamin can lead to lifelong problems such as rickets in children, and bone pain and tenderness resulting from a condition called osteomalacia in adults.

The six-month study will compare blood and urine samples in up to 350 participants aged between eight and 77.

Dr Paul Dimitri, director of research and innovation at the children’s hospital, said: “Vitamin D helps the body control calcium levels.

“If this becomes too low, it may lead to weak and soft bones and deformities which can be very debilitating to a person’s life.

“By working out how the body processes and stores the vitamin in both lean and obese people, we hope to discover if a deficiency can be caused by obesity.

“If it is, then we can prescribe our patients with a supplement to protect their skeletal health.

“Research around vitamin D is hugely important to the nation’s health, so we are very excited to have been given the opportunity to carry out this pioneering project.”