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Nutrients. 2014 Feb 21;6(2):729-75. doi: 10.3390/nu6020729.

Vitamin D deficiency in India: prevalence, causalities and interventions.

Author information

1
Charak Foundation, P.O. Box 3547, Cerritos, CA 90703, USA.
2
Charak Foundation, P.O. Box 3547, Cerritos, CA 90703, USA. agupta@rockwellmed.com.

Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency prevails in epidemic proportions all over the Indian subcontinent, with a prevalence of 70%-100% in the general population. In India, widely consumed food items such as dairy products are rarely fortified with vitamin D. Indian socioreligious and cultural practices do not facilitate adequate sun exposure, thereby negating potential benefits of plentiful sunshine. Consequently, subclinical vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in both urban and rural settings, and across all socioeconomic and geographic strata. Vitamin D deficiency is likely to play an important role in the very high prevalence of rickets, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and infections such as tuberculosis in India. Fortification of staple foods with vitamin D is the most viable population based strategy to achieve vitamin D sufficiency. Unfortunately, even in advanced countries like USA and Canada, food fortification strategies with vitamin D have been only partially effective and have largely failed to attain vitamin D sufficiency. This article reviews the status of vitamin D nutrition in the Indian subcontinent and also the underlying causes for this epidemic. Implementation of population based educational and interventional strategies to combat this scourge require recognition of vitamin D deficiency as a public health problem by the governing bodies so that healthcare funds can be allocated appropriately.

PMID:
24566435
PMCID:
PMC3942730
DOI:
10.3390/nu6020729
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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