High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in UK South Asians

Pavankumar Kamat

August 04, 2020

According to a recent study, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among South Asians living in the UK is substantially high.

An observational, cross-sectional study analysed 6433 individuals of South Asian ethnicity from the UK Biobank having valid baseline data for serum 25(OH)D concentration.

Among participants with a 25(OH)D measurement, 92% had 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L (insufficiency), 55% had 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L (severe deficiency) and 20% had 25(OH)D concentration <15 nmol/L (very severe deficiency).

Male sex, Pakistani ethnicity, higher body mass index, age between 40 and 59 years, never consuming oily fish, summer sun exposure less than five hours a day, not taking a vitamin D supplement, measurement in winter or spring and vegetarian lifestyle were factors associated with a higher likelihood of severe vitamin D deficiency. In terms of region, Scotland had the lowest and London had the highest median 25(OH)D concentration.

Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition, the authors said: "Our analyses suggest there is an urgent need for public health interventions to prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency in UK South Asians.

"As a consequence, reducing vitamin D deficiency will help reduce rates of non-communicable diseases in this population group," they added.

The NHS already advises people from a South Asian background to consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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