DSM, which contributed to the map’s construction, said the results highlighted vitamin D deficiencies around the world.
“There is far too little data available, for example, in relation to adolescents and young people, and across the developing world in general. These maps are an important starting point, but it is essential that research continues to better understand the scale of vitamin D insufficiency,” said DSM Nutritonal Products’ Dr Manfred Eggersdorfer, senior vice president in nutrition science and advocacy.
Both called for policy makers around the world to prioritise the issue, especially in countries with low sunlight levels, or among demographaics like non-Hispanic blacks in the US, where deficiencies rise as high as 70%.
Vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to a range of bone development and bone strength issues as well as rickets in children and other ailments.
Judy Stenmark, CEO of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, said: “IOF urges people at risk of osteoporosis and generally all seniors aged 60 years and older to ensure optimal levels of vitamin D. In these high risk groups IOF recommends 800-1000 IU/day supplementation for fall and fracture prevention.”
“With the launch of these maps, we are calling on health professionals to be aware of the status of vitamin D insufficiency within their own country and urge them to take simple and inexpensive steps to correct it. This will ultimately improve, and even save, lives.”
Professor Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, PhD, Director of the Centre on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich added: “The reality is that natural production of vitamin D through sunlight decreases with age, and it is very difficult to achieve sufficient vitamin D through diet alone, especially in the senior population. The good news is that vitamin D supplementation offers an effective, inexpensive, and safe public health strategy that can make a significant difference to people’s health and quality of life, by reducing 30% of falls and hip fracture.”
The maps can be found here.