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Vitamin D Deficiency Has Emerged as a Silent Epidemic
Date:3/26/2009

Some preliminary research suggests vitamin D may support a healthy immune system, heart health, normal blood pressure and healthy aging. And, ongoing research continues to explore the potential connection between vitamin D and certain diseases, including some cancers.

Despite the newfound fame for vitamin D, Americans of all ages still appear to be coming up short. For example, some researchers estimate that up to 55 percent of adolescents may be deficient, putting them at increased risk for osteoporosis and debilitating bone diseases, according to one recent analysis of children living in the northeastern United States. The researchers believe the trend of soft drinks replacing milk may be one important reason for this trend. The problem could be even worse as Americans get older. According to recent government data, only 4 percent of men and 1 percent of women over the age of 51 meet vitamin D recommendations from food. The researchers found that even some infants and small children seem to be failing to get enough vitamin D. Experts suggest the chronic low intakes of vitamin D have been behind the resurgence of rickets -- a severe vitamin D deficiency that results in bone deformities.

Shedding New Light On Vitamin D

The launch of Vitamin D Season is part of a new initiative to shine the spotlight on the problem of vitamin D deficiency. Eighty-eight percent of Americans believe they get the vitamin D they need from the sun, according to a recent survey(1) commissioned by the "got milk?" campaign. For most people, vitamin D is not even on their radar screen. Seventy-five percent are not sure how much vitamin D they need and there is significant confusion about where to find it -- 23 percent believe exercising regularly will increase their vitamin D and one in five Americans believe a good night's sleep will replenish their vitamin D.

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SOURCE Milk Processor Education Program
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