Volume 9 Issue 1 - 2015
The annual winter tempest to hit the NHS is blowing. The Times and Independent newspapers recently carried stories that the service is £2 billion in the red and this is even before the winter pressures have commenced.
Vitamin D deficiency causes health problems in children and adolescents in the UK. Impacts on bone mass in particular in children and adolescents are significant and the costs of treating sequelae in adulthood high. Many guidelines exist to tackle the problem, but compliance with these by patients (and doctors!) is not perfect. For improvements to be made at a population level we suggest that a universal approach to vitamin D needs to be taken, together with specific targeting of key at risk groups such as children and adolescents. Educating at risk mothers and children now will improve the health awareness of the adult population in years to come.
By definition, a woman having a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy, who has a normal balanced diet, does not need dietary supplements. The justification for routine population supplementation therefore depends upon the incidence of deficiency in that particular population, and the balance between the benefits of supplementation for those who have a deficient diet and the harms that can occur from excessive consumption of individual nutrients in those who are already replete. General guidelines for the detection of individual deficiency are outlined, together with suggested nutritional supplements to correct them.