Vitamin D deficiency in South Asia becoming growing osteoporosis crisis

According to reports from the first Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting, vitamin D deficiency is a major concern in South Asia.

"A lack of exposure to sunshine, genetic traits and dietary habits are all factors which influence vitamin D levels. In certain regions, vitamin D deficiency can also be attributed to skin pigmentation and traditional clothing, as well as air pollution and limited outdoor activity in urban populations," said Dr. Nikhil Tandon, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences of New Delhi, India.

He also noted studies which show severe deficiency across India and Pakistan among people of all ages, as well as in South-East and East Asia.

Past research has shown that children who are born to mothers with vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may have reduced bone mass, which increases the risk for osteoporosis in later adulthood. Additionally, severe vitamin D deficiency in children may result in inadequate mineralization of bone, which can lead to stunted growth and bone deformities, as well as rickets.

Robert Josse, professor in the departments of medicine and nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, Canada, held a roundtable discussion, in which attendees began developing interactive vitamin D maps.