Vitamin D is essential for the growth, development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, but deficiency of this vital vitamin is on the rise in the Arab Gulf, particularly among growing children.
Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin, as the skin requires sunlight in order to make vitamin D. The main role of vitamin D is to help us to absorb dietary calcium, and then to use this calcium, along with other minerals, to build strong bones and teeth. Too little vitamin D for too long could result in a child potentially developing rickets.
Despite the abundance of sunshine in the Arab Gulf, the region has a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency - studies show that 78% of the UAE population suffers from vitamin D deficiency1. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency have also been found to be highly prevalent in otherwise healthy adolescents living in the UAE2 and KSA3 (especially in girls2) despite adequate exposure to sunlight.
In response to this nutritional shortfall, Kellogg’s adds vitamin D to all family and children’s ranges so that every bowl now provides one quarter of daily vitamin D requirements. In addition, most breakfast cereals are consumed with milk4, providing the ideal partnership of vitamin D and calcium.
The Food Dome: Dietary Guidelines for Arab Countries5 highlights the need for adequate consumption of foods fortified with vitamin D for vulnerable groups including pregnant women, infants, and pre-school children. School-aged children are advised to consume sufficient quantities of cereals fortified with micronutrients.
Exposure to direct sunlight of the face, arms, hands, or back for 15 minutes daily (or at least 3 days a week) without applying sunscreen
Fortified foods and beverages such as milk, soy milk and orange juice (check the labels of the product). Kellogg’s breakfast cereals for kids are now also fortified with vitamin D and can help cover the needs
Fish (such as tuna, salmon and sardines), liver, and egg yolk
Click here to download a factsheet on Vitamin D