Parents lack information on vitamin D for children

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More than a third of parents have never received information from healthcare professionals on vitamin D levels in their child, a new poll finds.

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Despite this, the online survey of 2,000 parents of children under five by public health awareness campaign Vitamin D Mission, found that two-thirds of mothers and fathers would trust healthcare professionals to provide this type of advice.

Of the parents that took part in the survey, over 77 per cent said they were unaware of their child's daily dietary requirement of seven micrograms of vitamin D.

The campaign, which was launched this year and aims to eradicate vitamin D deficiency in the UK's under-fives, says that UK children are currently receiving just 27 per cent of their dietary requirement of vitamin D.

One in five parents surveyed were also unaware of the Department of Health’s recognition of under-fives as among the most at risk of vitamin D deficiency, and 60 per cent said they were unconcerned about the dangers of insufficient levels of the vitamin.

Leaders of the Vitamin D Mission, which include the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Cow & Gate, Kellogg's and BetterYou, the developer of a vitamin D oral spray, have voiced concern over the poll’s findings.

Dr Benjamin Jacobs, clinical consultant for the Vitamin D Mission and paediatrician at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, said, ‘Many parents are still not getting the message about this vitamin and its importance for child health. As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to provide this crucial advice to parents.

‘I see first-hand the health impacts of low levels of vitamin D in the UK. The Vitamin D Mission urges families and professionals to unite and end vitamin D deficiency, so our children will be healthy, now and in later life.’

Current Department of Health advice is that children under five should take a daily supplement containing vitamin D in the form of drops from the age of six months to aid growth and bone development and prevent immune disorders, muscle weakness and allergies.

  • More about Vitamin D Mission, including an online test for children’s vitamin D levels, can be found at www.vitamindmission.co.uk