Prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in Pakistan and implications for the future
Riaz H., Finlayson AE., Bashir S., Hussain S., Mahmood S., Malik F., Godman B.
© 2016 Taylor & Francis. Background and aims: vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D) affects over one billion people worldwide. Vitamin D deficiency results in progression of osteoporosis as well as other conditions. Previous studies have shown high rates of vitamin D deficiency in Pakistan despite appreciable levels of sunshine. However, none have assessed vitamin D deficiency across all age groups, genders, incomes, and locations to guide future strategies. Methods: Questionnaire and blood sampling among 4830 randomly selected citizens. Results: High levels of deficiency among all age groups, genders, income levels, and locations. Amongst the selected citizens, 53.5% had vitamin D deficiency, 31.2% had insufficient vitamin D, and only 15.3% normal vitamin D. Conclusion: High rates of vitamin D deficiency in Pakistan despite high levels of sunshine and previous Food Acts asking for food fortification with vitamin D. Public health strategies are needed to address high deficiency rates, including food fortification, i.e. nurture, alongside increasing exposure to sunlight, i.e. nature. This will involve all key stakeholder groups.