Vitamin D for the family
Dr. Pamela von Hurst is a nutrition researcher from the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health and co-director of Massey’s Vitamin D Research Centre in Albany. Dr von Hurst is the author of a number of journals relating to vitamin D including insights into vitamin D status and risk factors for deficiency in New Zealand women of reproductive age.
Following the study which Reach Me mums participated, Dr. Pamela von Hurst shared with us the insights gathered:
The Vitamin D and sunshine survey
To all the mums that took part in the survey a huge thank you - the response was overwhelming. We had over 9000 mums take part and it’s impossible to answer all the questions but you will find some useful links to good websites which will answer many of the questions which were raised by the survey.
From the survey most of our mothers knew that vitamin D was made in the skin from sunshine and that it is important for healthy bones. Sunshine is the main source of vitamin D for most people in New Zealand but it’s important to remember that if you expose your child to sunshine that the current recommendation is for exposure to be outside of peak hours and that skin should never burn or start to turn pink (see links for further details).
Food sources of vitamin D include breast milk (as long as Mum’s levels are good), infant and toddler formula, food products which have added vitamin D (see link for further information) and some oily fish. Mums were unsure about cow’s milk which is only a source of vitamin D if fortified. However, it is a good source of lots of other important nutrients.
The findings from the survey showed that most mums are protecting their children from the sun in the summer using clothing, hats and sunscreen. Our mums knew that even though we have a sunny climate we need to be aware of vitamin D and agreed that children need to get some sun. Outside sun and not through a window is needed for the skin to make vitamin D and children with darker skin need to spend longer in the sun than children with fair skin to make the same amount of vitamin D.
Lots of you found the messages about sun exposure confusing so make sure you read the current advice on the links or talk to your health professional.
Thank you once again to everyone who participated in the survey.
Dr Cath Conlon & Dr Pam von Hurst
You must be signed in to comment. Sign in or Register