Author: Saeed Akhtar
Publishing Date: 2016
Volume: 29 Issue: 4
Health outcomes of vitamin D deficiency (VDD) are beyond rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, falls and fractures and have now touched the boundaries of CVD, diabetes and many types of cancer. Therefore, thinking of mere dependence on the sun to meet vitamin D requirements under the existing set of conditions is erroneous. Pakistan as a developing economy of South Asia and a region spanning latitude 24° 35′ North and longitude 61° East to 78° East, gravely suffers from increased VDD among pregnant women, neonates, infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly people despite its abundant sunshine. Multiple indicators inflating VDD have been widely reported such as food habits, sociocultural and religious taboos, restricted sun exposure, unavailability of fortified diets, age, season, gender, lack of vitamin D supplementation, skin pigmentation and genetic factors. Strategies entailing mandatory food fortification, pragmatic implementation of vitamin D supplementation program, developing awareness on health damaging effects of the syndrome and sagacious sun exposure in tandem with global support to incline the government, program managers and consumers, need to be followed. Concerted efforts are further required to scale up the surveillance and monitoring of the magnitude of VDD by taking NGOs, industry, academia and health sector into loop to devise remedies for VDD in Pakistan.
KEYWORDS: Vitamin D, 25 (OH) D, Pakistan.