Indian Academy of Pediatrics Revised (2021) Guidelines on Prevention and Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency and Rickets

Indian Pediatr. 2022 Feb 15;59(2):142-158. Epub 2021 Dec 29.


Justification: The emerging literature on prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in India, prevention and treatment strategies of rickets, and extra-skeletal benefits of vitamin D suggest the need for revising the existing guidelines for prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in India.

Objectives: To review the emerging literature on vitamin D prevalence and need for universal vitamin D supplementation. To suggest optimum vitamin D therapy for treatment of asymptomatic and symptomatic vitamin D deficiency, and rickets. To evaluate the extra-skeletal health benefits of vitamin D in children.

Process: A National consultative committee was formed that comprised of clinicians, epidemiologists, endocrinologists, and nutritionists. The Committee conducted deliberations on different aspects of vitamin D deficiency and rickets through ten online meetings between March and September, 2021. A draft guideline was formulated, which was reviewed and approved by all Committee members.

Recommendations: The group reiterates the serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D cutoffs proposed for vitamin D deficiency, insufficiency, and sufficiency as <12 ng/mL, 12-20 ng/mL and >20 ng/mL, respectively. Vitamin D toxicity is defined as serum 25OHD >100 ng/mL with hypercalcemia and/or hypercalciuria. Vitamin D supplementation in doses of 400 IU/day is recommended during infancy; however, the estimated average requirement in older children and adolescents (400-600 IU/day, respectively) should be met from diet and natural sources like sunlight. Rickets and vitamin D deficiency should be treated with oral cholecalciferol, preferably in a daily dosing schedule (2000 IU below 1 year of age and 3000 IU in older children) for 12 weeks. If compliance to daily dosing cannot be ensured, intermittent regimens may be prescribed for children above 6 months of age. Universal vitamin D supplementation is not recommended in childhood pneumonia, diarrhea, tuberculosis, HIV and non-infectious conditions like asthma, atopic dermatitis, and developmental disorders. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of >20 ng/mL should be maintained in children with conditions at high-risk for vitamin deficiency, like nephrotic syndrome, chronic liver disease, chronic renal failure, and intake of anticonvulsants or glucocorticoids.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cholecalciferol / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics*
  • Rickets* / drug therapy
  • Rickets* / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / prevention & control
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol