A Third of Melbourne women may be
deficient in vitamin D
By Marianne Betts From: Herald Sun , Australia. February 09, 2010
At least a third of Melbourne women may be deficient in vitamin D, with doctors blaming the popular "slip, slop, slap" message.
An increase in the number of veiled women and the dark-skinned population, as well as indoor living and long working hours were also to blame.
Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more widespread, and the number of children with the bone deformity rickets is increasing.
It can cause bone and muscle pain, weak, fragile bones in older people, and can contribute to osteoporosis.
It has also been linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke and autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes.
Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Ted Weaver said a third or more of Melbourne women of childbearing age may be vitamin D deficient. "So it's quite a common problem," Dr Weaver said.
Men were less likely to be deficient because they tended to spend more time outdoors, didn't wear veils and wore hats less often, he said.
The babies of vitamin D deficient mothers have the same problem. He supported screening of pregnant women by blood tests.
Deficient women could then be given supplements, increase their sun exposure, or both, Dr Weaver said.
RCH endocrinologist Assoc Prof Margaret Zacharin said children at risk were routinely screened for vitamin D, and nearly all of them were deficient.
Dr Ronald McCoy, from the Royal Australian College of GPs, said the Cancer Council's "slip, slop, slap" message meant people were exposing themselves to the sun less.