• Wednesday, March 29, 2023


UK launches Vitamin D review for south Asians

Representational image (iStock)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE UK’s health service has launched a new review to promote the importance of Vitamin D and identify ways to improve intake across the population, especially among South Asians.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to rickets in children and bone pain and muscle weakness in adults.

A call for evidence was launched recently by the UK’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).

It started the campaign to raise awareness on the importance of Vitamin D and gather views from the public, public health experts, retailers, food manufacturers and other industry bodies on ways to improve uptake and tackle disparities.

Javid says criticism of Johnson's wife sexist and undignified
Britain’s health secretary Sajid Javid speaks during a press conference. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

We must break the link between background and prospects for a healthy life, and I am determined to level up the health of the nation and tackle disparities,” said health secretary Sajid Javid.

People from black and Asian communities, older people and people who have limited access to the outdoors are more likely to have lower levels of Vitamin D, which is essential for bone and muscle health and improving years of life lived in good health.

I have launched this call for evidence to identify innovative ways we can encourage people to increase their Vitamin D intake and help people live longer, healthier and happier lives.

According to official estimates, around one in six adults and almost 20 per cent of children in the UK have Vitamin D levels lower than government recommendations.

Older people, the housebound and people from black and south Asian communities are more likely to have lower levels of the vital vitamin, according to research.

I welcome this call for evidence as part of OHID’s continued drive to improve health outcomes and tackle health disparities,” said Dr Tazeem Bhatia, Interim chief nutritionist at OHID.

We want to improve the dietary health of the population and this includes supporting everyone to maintain sufficient Vitamin D levels to support strong and healthy bones and muscles.”

The latest OHID review comes ahead of the health disparities white paper due to be published later this year, which will set out action to reduce health disparities between different places and communities and address their causes so that people’s backgrounds do not dictate their prospects for a healthy life.

In the UK, people obtain the majority of vitamin D from sunlight on their skin during the spring and summer, as dietary sources of Vitamin D are limited.

The current health advice in the country is for all adults and children to consider taking a daily 10 micrograms supplement of Vitamin D between October and March. Some at-risk groups are advised to consider taking a supplement throughout the year. However, uptake is low with only one in six adults reporting taking a daily supplement.

The call for evidence for the country-wide review will last for six weeks and aims to consider how to improve the population’s Vitamin D levels, particularly among at-risk groups.

OHID said it will engage with representatives from major retailers, pharmacy and health organisations, patient groups and bodies representing people from at-risk groups to support the national awareness campaign.


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