Less than adequate vitamin D status and intake in Latin America and the Caribbean: A problem of unknown magnitude
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Background. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean is unknown. Objective. To examine the prevalence data available on vitamin D deficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean. Methods. A systematic review was conducted in 2011. Studies using biochemical biomarkers and dietary intake estimation were included. Studies conducted in apparently healthy individuals, independently of age, latitude, skin pigmentation, and season of the year at the time of blood collection, were included. Results. A total of 243 studies were identified. The final number of selected studies was 28, including two National Health Surveys (Mexico and Argentina). There are studies that report the vitamin D status of specific subgroups conducted in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico. However, the small sample sizes in these studies and thus the low national representativeness of the reported data do not allow for an accurate assessment of vitamin D status at the regional level. In the majority of the countries with available data, we observed that vitamin D insufficiency was classified as a mild, moderate, or severe public health problem. The only country with a nationally representative sample was Mexico, which found 24%, 10%, 8%, and 10% prevalence rates of vitamin D insufficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D < 50 nmol/L) in preschoolers, schoolchildren, adolescents, and adults, respectively. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D < 20 nmol/L) was less than 1% for all groups. Conclusions. There is some indication that vitamin D insufficiency may be a public health problem in Latin America and the Caribbean, but the exact magnitude is currently unknown.
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