White children were more likely to have higher levels of fat between their internal organs, however.
Lead author Dr. Silva Arslanian of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues examined the racial differences in the relationship between vitamin D status, body mass index, fat levels, fat distribution and lipid levels in healthy obese and non-obese black and white children ages 8-18.
"Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in American youth, and there is some suggestion in adults that low levels of vitamin D may be playing a role in the increasing rates of type 2 diabetes. It is possible the same may be true for youth with type 2 diabetes," Arslanian said in a statement. "Our study found that vitamin D was associated with higher fat levels and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol, in both black and white children."
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found the majority of the 237 children examined were vitamin D deficient. Plasma vitamin D levels were associated inversely with body mass index and fat levels and positively with HDL cholesterol in all subjects.
The benefits of vitamin D optimization on fat levels, lipid profile and risk of type 2 diabetes need to be explored, Arslanian said.