A new study says that children who accumulate fat around the waist and gained weight rapidly are likely to have deficiency of Vitamin D.

"Accumulation of abdominal fat, or central fat, may lead to a so-called apple body shape, which is commonly linked to increased risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions later in life," says epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and senior author of the study.

Around 479 school children in ages 5-12 from Bogota, Colombia were tracked by the researchers for 30 months since 2006. They checked the Vitamin D content in the blood initially and checked the body mass index, waist circumference and subscapular-t0-triceps skin fold ratio over time.

The paper, "Vitamin D deficiency and anthropometric indicators of adiposity in school-age children: a prospective study," is available this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Our findings suggest that low vitamin D status may put children at risk of obesity," said Diane Gilbert-Diamond, Villamor's former Harvard student, now at Dartmouth Medical School and first author of the study. "This is significant because vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent across the globe and childhood obesity rates are dramatically increasing worldwide."

Of all the children tested, 10 percent were vitamin D deficient, and another 46 percent of kids were insufficient, which meant they were at risk of becoming deficient.

"Interestingly, Bogota, Colombia, is in a subtropical zone where one may not expect to find a lot of vitamin D deficiency since the assumption is that sunlight is abundant there, but there could be many reasons people in subtropical climates may not get enough sun exposure," Villamor said.

"These findings should motivate some discussion on ways to enhance vitamin D status of children there, although it will be necessary to confirm in intervention studies whether improvements in vitamin D status decrease the risk of childhood obesity and early development of chronic diseases," he added.