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Community Pract. 2011 Mar;84(3):23-6.

Vitamin D deficiency and supplementation: are we failing to prevent the preventable?

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NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale.


Within the UK rickets is emerging as a national public health issue, particularly among at-risk groups. There is concern that health professionals are overlooking recommendations for vitamin supplementation and opportunities for prevention. This paper reports on a study that aimed to identify current knowledge and practice regarding vitamin D deficiency and supplementation among community midwifery and health visiting teams employed in one NHS trust. A questionnaire was distributed to all health visiting and community midwifery team members (n=96), with a 76% response rate (n=73). Results suggest varying levels of awareness about vitamin D deficiency and groups at increased risk. Only 52% reported that they were aware of health department recommendations for vitamin supplementation. Health visiting teams recommended supplements more frequently than community midwives, but overall the recommendations were implemented inconsistently. Participants identified families eligible for the government Healthy Start scheme, but fewer were recommending Healthy Start vitamins. A deeper understanding of vitamin D deficiency and health department recommendations for vitamin supplementation is required by health professionals to ensure families are advised about appropriate prevention messages and to implement recommendations effectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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