Industry issues EU-wide ‘call to action’ to raise vitamin D deficiency awareness levels
A consortium of ingredient suppliers, food manufacturers and public health groups this week issued a ‘call to action’ raise awareness about micronutrient deficiencies among European governments, with an accent on vitamin D.
The elderly are one population sub-group that may be deficient in certain micronutrients, advocates say
- DSM **
- Kraft Foods,
- GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), the
- International Genetic Alliance and the
- International Osteoporosis Foundation
– issued a joint statement after meetings in Lyon, France and Brussels, Belgium this week.
They “urged” European health ministers to:
- Implement campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of micronutrients in the diet
- Ensure that health professionals fully understand the consequences of micronutrient deficiency
- Promote research in the field of nutrition
- Provide fact-based information on the role of micronutrients in minimising disease burden and saving on healthcare costs
- Ensure health professionals can offer effective nutrition care programs to patients.
“Promoting public, private, partnerships, the signatories invite Europe’s health ministers, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission to work together to increase quality of life for patients, and achieve cost-effective disease prevention,” they wrote.
They called for a, “‘scaling-up’ of fortification or supplementation programs in high risk groups to tackle specific population based health problems.”
The parties came together at the 7th World Life Sciences Forum in Lyon and a vitamin D-focused briefing in Brussels yesterday morning that was attended by Mary Honeyball MEP, chair of the European Parliament Interest Group on Osteoporosis along with HOPE (the European Hospitals and Healthcare Federation), the Standing Committee of European Doctors and IDACE (Association of the Food Industries for Particular Nutritional Uses of the European Union).
There it was demonstrated that €187bn in healthcare costs could be saved in 17 European countries if vitamin D deficiencies could be addressed.
“Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, with enormous social and economic impact, and yet it is frequently low on the list of healthcare priorities," Honeyball said. "As policymakers, we all have to start waking up to the importance of prevention, and look at the important role that good nutrition can play in stopping this problem in its tracks.”
Leading vitamin D academics including Professor Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, PhD, the director of the Centre on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich in Switzerland were in attendance. She stated:
“Vitamin D supplementation offers an effective, inexpensive and safe public health strategy to reduce 20 per cent of falls and fractures, including those at the hip, in a growing senior segment of the European population. This is an enormous public health benefit we could implement now.”
Dr Manfred Eggersdorfer, senior vice president of DSM’s nutrition science and advocacy group added: “In promoting the ‘call to action’, we want to ensure that health care decision-makers fully understand the benefits of micronutrients, and their role in avoiding the devastating social and economic impacts of ill health.”
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- Overview Deficiency of vitamin D
- All items: Deficiency of Vitamin D
- Vitamin D insufficiency in UK youths – 37X more likely if dark skin – July 2011
- All items in Far From Equator
- Vitamin D in the UK = Vitamin D Association
- UK elderly need vitamin D – 86 % less than 30 ng - Jan 2010
- Scotland and Vitamin D
- UK survey of vitamin D knowledge of midwives - 2011
- 87 % of Tennessee general medicine patients had less than 32 ng of vitamin D – Jan 2011
- 2000 IU daily dose of vitamin D would save Germany 37 billion euros – Aug 2010
- Vitamin D should Improve mortality in Nordic Countries – Feb 2011 Grant
- Recommend 2500-4000 IU per day to reduce all-cause mortality by 18%– Grant Netherlands April 2010
- Vitamin D could save More than 10,000 Canadian lives annually LEF
- Only 18 % of Swedes got recommended amount of vitamin D – Feb 2011
- WHO to map vitamin D deficiency in Europe - Oct 2010
- Save 160 lives annually if Netherlands have 42 ng vitamin D PDFEuropean call to action for vitamin D – March 2011
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