Vitamin D deficiency is a significant problem for a growing proportion of the UK population.
Individuals with dark or covered skin are at particularly high risk due to ethno-cultural, environmental and genetic factors.
We assessed the level of awareness of vitamin D deficiency among at-risk patients in order to identify groups most in need of education.
Findings A cross-sectional survey using a piloted questionnaire was conducted among consecutive at-risk patients without a diagnosis of Vitamin D deficiency arriving at a large inner city general practice in the North West of England over a five day period.
The survey was completed by 221 patients. The mean age was 35 years. 28% of them (n = 61) had never heard about vitamin D.
- Older patients (p = 0.003) were less likely to have heard about vitamin D.
- 54% of participants were unaware of the commonest symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
- 34% did not expose their skin other than their face in the last one year, and
- 11% did not include vitamin D rich foods in their diet.
Conclusion: The majority of at-risk patients are aware of vitamin D; nevertheless, there is a significant lack of knowledge among older people, who have higher morbidity.
A programme of targeted education of the at-risk population is recommended.
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Note: This study just considered the first at-risk category Dark Skin
Additional at-risk groups include Dark Skin and pregnant, Pregnant Elderly, Obese,
and about a dozen more - who are typically not visually discernable (MS, HIV, gut problems, kidney failure, liver failure, etc)
- Overview of Vitamin D Deficiency
- Overview Dark Skin and Vitamin D
- All items in Far from Equator
- Disadvantaged get less sun and have poor health in the North– Aug 2011
- UK survey of vitamin D knowledge of midwives - 2011
- Amazing that only 50% of the midwives and home visitors were aware that dark skin was an issue
- Vitamin D insufficiency in UK youths – 37X more likely if dark skin – July 2011
- Survey finds that Non-Caucasians do not feel that people need sun exposure – July 2012
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