With an increasing number of overweight children in America, scientists are focusing on new studies and research that can help stem the tide.

One new study from the University of Michigan has found that children which are deficient in vitamin D accumulated fat around the waist, and had more rapid weight gain, than children who had higher levels of vitamin D.

While vitamin D can be absorbed through food intake, it is primarily gained through exposure to sunshine. The amount of vitamin D a person needs is a controversial subject. Some health officials say that the federal standard is much too low.

Eduardo Villamor, senior author of the study, said the extra fat around the central part of the body leads to an apple body shape. That shape has been linked to a greater risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues later in life.

In the study it was found that children with the lowest levels of vitamin D at the beginning of the study gained weight and fat faster than children with higher levels of vitamin D. They also noted that lower levels of vitamin D was also linked to less growth in height and girls, but not boys.

While the study’s findings were significant, Villamor also said it was part of a very complex picture, and that other factors are also involved in childhood obesity.