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Poor Vitamin D awareness in UK – 25 percent of parents, 14 percent of doctors properly identified children – March 2018

G127(P) Improving vitamin d supplementation in children aged 0–5 years by improving health professionals’ knowledge of updated vitamin d guidance

__Archives of Disease in Childhood
M Scott, M Feeney, M McGinn

Guidance from the RCPCH and Public Health agency (PHA) recommends all children 0–5 years should receive vitamin D supplementation (excluding those receiving more than 500 ml of formula milk/day).

Aim Our aim was to assess current level of vitamin D supplementation in children aged 0–5 years within our trust and assess awareness of RCPCH/PHA guidance among parents and health professionals.

Methods A survey was completed with parents/carers of children aged 0–5 years attending outpatient clinics. We surveyed if children were in receipt of vitamin D supplementation and parental awareness of vitamin D guidance. Education via vitamin D information leaflets was provided to all surveyed.

An online survey was circulated to medical and health visiting staff. 99 responses were received.

Results 40 children were surveyed. 34 of these children should have been receiving supplements. Our survey identified 15% of these children were receiving supplementation.
75% of parents/carers had no awareness of vitamin D guidelines. There was no uptake of healthy start vouchers for vitamins. Healthy Start is a government scheme aiming to improve the health of low income families including the provision of vitamin coupons.

72% of health professional respondents were aware of vitamin D guidance

  • yet only 14% correctly identified children who should receive vitamin D supplementation.
  • 63% were not aware of how parents/carers apply for healthy start vouchers.
  • 74% stated they had not received training in vitamin D supplementation

Respondents suggested that they would benefit from face to face teaching sessions and e-learning modules.

A teaching programme was created to improve health professionals’ awareness of vitamin D guidance. Following attendance at the session 100% of attendee’s reported that they felt more informed about vitamin D guidance. 89% suggested that the teaching will change their practice with 93% stating that they will now recommend vitamin D supplementation to children aged 0–5 years in their care.

Conclusion Our project identified the lack of awareness around vitamin D supplementation and emphasises the importance of education amongst professionals to improve vitamin d supplementation within the paediatric population. Ongoing engagement with the PHA is necessary to improve public awareness and uptake of supplementation.



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