Modern India and the Tale of Twin Nutrient Deficiency–Calcium and Vitamin D–Nutrition Trend Data 50 Years-Retrospect, Introspect, and Prospect
Front. Endocrinol., 09 August 2019 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2019.00493
Chittari Venkata Harinarayan1,2* and Harinarayan Akhila3
- 1 Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Thyroid and Osteoporosis Disorders, Sakra World Hospitals, Bengaluru, India
- 2 Department of Medicine & Endocrinology, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences University, Saveetha Medical College, Chennai, India
- 3 Information Services Group (ISG), Bangalore, India
Vitamin D and calcium are essential nutrients for bone health, to achieve peak bone mass and to preserve bone as age advances. A deficiency in these nutrients casts a long shadow in later life in the form of short/long latency diseases–rickets/osteomalacia/osteoporosis. There is scant review available about the trend of these nutrients in India. For over past half a century, the intake of dietary calcium, milk, milk products, and cereals has declined drastically in the background of upward revision of RDA/RDI in modern India. This is attributed to changing lifestyle, inadequate milk consumption across various socio-economic strata, and shift in dietary intake from cereals to rice and wheat. There is a clear rural–urban divide in consumption of milk, milk products and cereals, a change in dietary habits which magnify the calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Revisiting of RDA guidelines for calcium along with public health measures is required to tackle the morbidity arising due to the deficiency in these nutrients. Any measure to addresses this issue in isolation, without achieving the desired benefits, is a disservice to the population. Population based educational strategies, government measures, leveraging technology, adequate sun exposure and food fortification help in tackling the twin nutrient deficiencies in this diverse country.