An alarming finding from the Osteoporosis Foundation is just the latest in a series of studies conducted in recent months that warn about a widespread vitamin D deficiency on a global scale.
The foundation has recently published a paper which details how populations around the world are affected by low levels of vitamin D, including overall health deterioration and higher fracture rates.
Although the paper does not solve the debate on what constitutes the optimal level of the vitamin, it says risk factors for insufficiency include older age, being female, lower latitudes, winter season, darker skin pigmentation, limited sunlight exposure, dietary habits and the absence of vitamin D fortification in common foods.
Modern urban culture and lifestyle are also to blame, the researchers say, as more people live and work indoors, avoid sun exposure due to anti-melanoma campaigns or wear traditional clothing that covers the skin.
The article concludes by saying that given the aging world population, governments around the world should step up their efforts to encourage safe, limited exposure to sunlight, improved dietary intake of vitamin D or consider appropriate fortification of foods.
Vitamin D and calcium can also be obtained from nutritional supplements available in most health stores.