A 2006 study from the Mayo Clinic suggested that more than one in three otherwise healthy young adults in the United States have inadequate levels of vitamin D. That same year, a study of 830 people in Birmingham, UK published in the Annals of Clinical Biochemistry reported that one in three Asians were lacking in vitamin D, and that among Asian women, nearly one in two were even more deficient.
The findings were consistent with past studies; a population survey published in 1999 in the British Medical Journal suggested that 20–34 per cent of Asian children in the UK aged 2-years-old had low blood vitamin D levels. Low levels of vitamin D are particularly prevalent among South Asian women who cover most of their skin for cultural reasons.
Groups that are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency include children under five, pregnant and breast-feeding women, anyone who is housebound, and seniors who are less able to make vitamin D from their skin — particularly those who don’t get out much, or people living in care homes where they don’t sit outdoors. South Asian and other dark-skinned ethnic groups are particularly prone, as people with dark skin are less efficient at making vitamin D.
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