A study has found that a lack of sunlight can increase the risk of heart disease in obese children.

Medical records show, kids aged between 6 and 17 who are overweight also suffer from low vitamin D.

Researchers in New York say the evidence suggests children with weight problems should spend more time outside in the sun.

Dr Marisa Censani, said: “These findings suggest vitamin D deficiency may have an increase in cardiovascular risk among children. Obesity affects 17 per cent of infants, children, and adolescents ages two to 19 in the United States and obesity is a risk factor for vitamin D deficiency.

“It’s one of the first studies to assess the relationship of vitamin D deficiency to cardiovascular risk during childhood. These results support screening.”