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Concern About Vitamin D In Children Prompts Survey

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Concern About Vitamin D In Children Prompts Survey

Wellington, Sept 27 NZPA - Many New Zealanders may be blocking out the health benefits of sunshine and becoming vitamin D deficient, researchers say.

Growing evidence of vitamin D deficiency, including the re-emergence of childhood rickets, has prompted two health researchers to conduct an online survey of mothers and health professionals to find out how much they know about the essential vitamin.

"There is emerging evidence that sections of the New Zealand population, ranging from newborn babies to the elderly, are vitamin D deficient," Massey University Vitamin D Research Centre co-director Pamela von Hurst said.

The survey was expected to show a need for clearer safe sun exposure guidelines, she said.

"Although most people know that sunshine provides vitamin D, we are only just beginning to understand its full role in the body and the long term consequences for babies and children if they lack vitamin D," she said.

After years of unprotected sun exposure, people have shifted to the other extreme, avoiding sun altogether, she said.

"The sun in New Zealand is very strong -- the message is not to let the skin burn."

The survey will ask a variety of questions including why people need vitamin D, where they go for information and how to protect babies and toddlers from the sun.

The results will be presented to health professionals at a symposium later this year.

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