Study Shows Immigrant Children At High Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Posted Jul 15 2013 11:00am
The Vitamin D Society wants to make parents aware of a recent Canadian study which reports that new immigrant and refugee children to Canada are at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency which may have serious negative consequences for their future health(1). The study compared vitamin D levels for non-immigrant children, aged 6-11 years with 72 immigrant and refugee children aged 7-11 years who had been living in Saskatoon, SK, Canada for no more than five years. Dr. Vatanparast’s team found that 73% of the immigrant/refugee children from Saskatoon had vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L which would make them deficient. The mean vitamin D level for the new immigrant/refugee children was 41 nmol/L, just barely over half the level reported nationally for all Canadian children aged 6-11 which was 75 nmol/L. Data from a nationally representative sample showed alarmingly low 25(OH)D levels in immigrant children, particularly girls.
“During the critical years of childhood, children need vitamin D for their bone accrual as well as other health benefits” states Dr. Hassan Vatanparast.
Darker-skinned individuals require more UV than lighter-skinned counterparts to make the same amount of vitamin D. Many newcomers to Canada who have darker skin pigmentation are, therefore, at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. In addition, females whose cultural practices include greater covering of skin will be at a higher risk than males even though they may be spending the same amount of time outdoors.
From 2002 to 2004, 150 cases of rickets were reported in Canadian children. Darker-skinned individuals represented 89% of cases, while 24% of those were immigrants(2).
“This is a drastic problem that requires immediate action to prevent the risk of vitamin D related diseases for immigrants” states Perry Holman, executive director for the Vitamin D Society. “We urge all Canadians, especially those who have darker skin types which are at a higher risk, to have a 25(OH)D test and insure their blood serum level is between 100-150 nmol/L, as recommended by over 40 vitamin D researchers from GrassrootsHealth(3).”
About the Vitamin D Society:
The Vitamin D Society is a Canadian non-profit group organized to: increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to vitamin D deficiency; encourage people to be proactive in protecting their health and have their vitamin D levels tested annually; and help fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends people achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 – 150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA).