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Worldwide, 1 in 3 People Low in Vitamin D

Posted Oct 07 2013 10:07pm

Best known for its role in bone health, Vitamin D is now thought to contribute to cardiovascular diseases and even cancers.  Kristina Hoffmann, from Heidelberg University (Germany), and colleagues analyzed close to 200 population-based vitamin D studies from 44 countries, aiming to discern patterns of vitamin D status worldwide to identify key population subgroups potentially at-risk for bone and cardiac disorders, and cancers.   The team observed that worldwide, 1 in 3 people are low in Vitamin D (measured as serum 25(OH)D), defined as values below 50 nmol/L.  Vitamin D values were higher in North America than in Europe or the Middle-East. Age-related differences were observed for the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, but not elsewhere. The study authors submit that “Substantial details on worldwide patterns of vitamin D status at the population level and within key subgroups are needed to inform public health policy development to reduce risk for potential health consequences of an inadequate vitamin D status.”

Hilger J, Friedel A, Herr R, Rausch T, Roos F, Wahl DA, Pierroz DD, Weber P, Hoffmann K.  “A systematic review of vitamin D status in populations worldwide.”  Br J Nutr. 2013 Aug 9:1-23.

  
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Discerning patterns of Vitamin D status worldwide, German researchers identify population subgroups potentially at-risk for bone and cardiac disorders.
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Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:

• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.

• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.

• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.

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