There are just over two weeks remaining in the Vitamin D Council’s 2014 fundraiser. So far, we’ve raised about $15,000, meaning we are now one quarter of the way to our goal!
The fundraising website has spelled out the various projects and goals that we aim to accomplish with your donations. But why are these projects and goals and your donations critical to public health and improving vitamin D awareness?
Here’s the top reasons why vitamin D is an important issue and why your donation can help improve awareness and lives:
1. Vitamin D deficiency is a global issue
It is estimated that roughly one billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. Using less than 30 ng/ml to define deficiency, the prevalence of deficiency varies by region, with around 40% of Americans, 59% of Canadians, up to 73% of Australians, and 80% of people in some northern European countries deficient in vitamin D.
The increasing vitamin D deficiency pandemic is a major reason why our organization exists. It is our mission to educate the global population on what vitamin D is, how to get vitamin D, and why so many are deficient, as well as to report on the latest research of vitamin D’s various roles in human health.
Donations will ultimately allow the Vitamin D Council to continue to further its mission and to increasingly reach more and more people to help reduce the global burden of vitamin D deficiency and subsequently improve the health and lives of millions.
2. The public has difficulty finding health practitioners knowledgeable about vitamin D
A recent survey from the United Kingdom found that only 34% of midwives and general practitioners advise vitamin D supplements to pregnant women.
In the United States, most health professionals have only recently become aware of vitamin D and are still uncertain of the risks for vitamin D deficiency and the benefits of sufficient vitamin D status.
It is critical that the public be informed and advised on the importance of vitamin D when visiting health professionals. These health professionals, in turn, need to be knowledgeable about vitamin D and recognize the importance of incorporating vitamin D supplementation in their practice.
Donations in this fundraising drive will be used to help solve this problem by establishing a network of healthcare professionals who are experts in the science and practice of vitamin D supplementation.
With access to nearby professionals who are knowledgeable about vitamin D, the public can become better educated on vitamin D and take better control of their health by consulting with these experts.
3. Most risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are lifestyle factors, which are usually preventable
Modern, indoor jobs are a major risk factor for vitamin D deficiency. In the United States, roughly 69% of indoor workers are deficient in vitamin D.
The Vitamin D Council aims to initiate a monitored wellness program that helps organizations acquire, distribute, and track vitamin D supplementation in an indoor workplace.
It will serve as a means to help this high-risk group maintain healthy vitamin D levels, improve their health, and determine how supplementation helps things like productivity and attendance.
4. The Middle East lacks access to information on vitamin D in Arabic
Despite nearly year-round, abundant sunshine, the region encompassing the Middle East and Central Asia has extremely high rates of vitamin D deficiency.
In Turkey and Jordan, it was found that 97% of pregnant women and 94.1% of newborns had levels below 20 ng/ml, respectively.
Rapidly developing urban lifestyles combined with a traditional cultural practice of covered clothing and a lack of vitamin D awareness, is contributing to this high prevalence.
To help make access to information on vitamin D easy to populations in the Middle East, the information should be readily available in Arabic, the common language of the region.
Donations this year will go directly towards translating our website into Arabic, as well as other popular languages spoken by millions of people, including Spanish.
5. Vitamin D is implicated in 40+ health conditions, yet many remain unaware of the relationships
Most individuals know less about vitamin D than other vitamins. It is estimated that, among university students, only 42% know that vitamin D improves immune function, 21% know of vitamin D’s role in cancer prevention, and 14% know of vitamin D’s role in cardiovascular health.
Completing our health conditions page would provide an up-to-date review on vitamin D’s role in over 40 health conditions. These reviews include general information about the health condition and a summary of the latest research of vitamin D’s role in that health condition.
6. When research is conducted, it is often presented in a manner difficult for the general public to read and understand
Vitamin D research is often written for and targeted at scientists who have similar knowledge and expertise as the research authors.
The Vitamin D Council works to present this ever-expanding evidence in a manner that is easy to read and understand by not only researchers and health professionals, but also the general public.
While we have specific and exciting projects that we want to accomplish, we aim to always get this information out to the public and ensure that anyone visiting the Vitamin D Council website finds the information they need and can read and understand it in a timely manner.
Click the button below to visit our pledge site to learn more about this year’s fundraiser and please consider making a donation to support the Vitamin D Council today!
Jain, V. et al. A survey of healthcare professionals’ awareness of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy, infancy and childhood- midwives, gps, and health visitors have their say. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2011.