Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Africa

29 November, 2019

Sunlight causes the skin to produce vitamin D and Africa is a sunny continent. This leads to a wide misconception that vitamin D deficiency is rare in Africa. In fact, this study finds that vitamin D deficiency is similar to that in Europe and is likely to increase further with urbanisation.

CITATION: Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Reagan M Mogire et al. Lancet Global Health 2019

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30457-7

'We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in populations living in Africa to guide prevention, detection, and control strategies... In conclusion, we found that vitamin D deficiency, as defined by three different thresholds, is prevalent in Africa, particularly in newborn babies, women, urban populations, and populations living in northern African countries and South Africa. Strategies to prevent, detect, and treat vitamin D deficiency need to be incorporated into public health and primary care in Africa. Therefore, we recommend the development of governmental policies and nutritional guidelines to improve vitamin D status, and dietary calcium intakes when appropriate, of African populations as has been done in other continents and countries.'

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org