Warburtons has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of 13 million at risk of Vitamin D deficiency, following a new report that revealed a fifth of people are not aware of Vitamin D, with nine in 10 confessing they do not know where they can source it from.
The Vitamin D Disconnect, commissioned by Warburtons Half White Half Wholemeal, argues that the lack of public knowledge is putting 13 million people at risk of Vitamin D deficiency, causing the UK to have one of the highest levels of Vitamin D deficiency per person in Europe.
“The findings of our report have shown just how important it is to ensure the nation is receiving the right levels of vitamin D. As the days get shorter and we all naturally get less vitamin D from the sun, fortified foods such as our Half White Half Wholemeal range can really help families increase their intake as part of their daily routines,” Jonathan Warburton, Chairman of Warburtons, said.
Warburtons has also announced support for CORONAVIT trial, which assesses the link between Vitamin D and Covid-19, as recent research suggests that Vitamin D may have a role in the body’s immune response to Covid-19.
The trial, led by Professor Adrian Martineau of Queen Mary University who supported The Vitamin D Disconnect, aims to establish whether a ‘test-and-treat’ approach to correct people’s Vitamin D deficiency during winter will reduce the risk and/or severity of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infections. The study is running for over six months and involves more than 5,000 volunteers.
“Vitamin D is known to be important for bone and muscle health, yet as this report clearly outlines, there is a significant gap in public knowledge about the sunshine vitamin. A particularly concerning finding is that awareness of the importance of Vitamin D is low among some groups who are at the highest risk of deficiency,” Professor Martineau commented.
“As this report argues, there is a clear need for two key actions going forward. Firstly, we need to make information on Vitamin D more widely available, so people can be sure that their intake is adequate. Secondly, we must continue the focus on increasing the range of ways we can all source Vitamin D, to make it easier to incorporate into our diets.”
Looking into potential solutions for those looking to increase their Vitamin D intake, the report found one of the simplest to be the introduction of vitamin fortified foods into diets. This approach allows for a consistent and reliable source of Vitamin D, which doesn’t require big changes in consumer behaviour and can include food items as readily available as bread.
The understanding of Vitamin D is worse amongst lower socio-economic groups. Only a quarter (24%) of low-income earners (<£30k) are concerned about deficiency, while more than half (53%) of high-income earners (>£50k) are concerned, with intake of the vitamin increasing 4-6% on average for every £10k increase in household income, the correlation is clear.
“[This report] really highlights how much there is to do to increase the public’s knowledge about Vitamin D – just expecting people to buy over the counter supplements is not sufficient action, especially since those most affected are the least likely to be able to do so,” Dr Zoe Williams said.
“More focus needs to be put on education, free access to Vitamin D supplementation and fortification of foods, like the Warburtons Half White Half Wholemeal loaf. These are three very important easily accessible solutions in helping to reduce the deficiency levels in the UK.”