Call for effective programme to eliminate vit D deficiencies

Staff Reporter
Filed on March 21, 2015

Shaikh Nahyan told the conference that the number of medical professional participants from the UAE, the Gulf region, and the world confirms the importance of this topic.

Abu Dhabi — An effective programme is needed to help eliminate vitamin D deficiencies, especially among teenagers, Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, told a conference in the Capital on Thursday.

Shaikh Nahyan speaks during the conference in Abu Dhabi. — KT photo by Shoaib Anwer

Inaugurating the two-day 4th International Conference on Vitamin D Deficiency and Its Clinical Implications, the minister said: “Most of the teenagers around the world have vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, we must establish a new and invincible model for filling us with the right amount of vitamin D.”

Shaikh Nahyan told the conference that the number of medical professional participants from the UAE, the Gulf region, and the world confirms the importance of this topic.

Quoting Nicolas Copernicus, he said: “Your work, like our planet, revolves around that great source of vitamin D, the sun. You proceed in the spirit of astronomer Nicholas Copernicus who declared in the year 1543 that ‘Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the centre of the Universe’. All this is suggested by the systematic procession of events and the harmony of the whole universe, if only we face the facts, as they say, ‘with both eyes open’.”

Because Abu Dhabi is among the world’s sunniest cities, “we should be ablaze with vitamin D. But our Emirati population, as well as the global population that we host, routinely shades itself from the sun. Our place in the sun has not eliminated those problems associated with vitamin D deficiency, the very problems on which this conference concentrates”, he added.

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, president of the conference and managing director of VPS Healthcare, said the event was organised in order to bring forth the seriousness of the topic.

“Vitamin D deficiency is not just restricted to Arab countries but is a global phenomenon. Exact reasons for this deficiency in sunny regions are not yet fully known but such deliberations are necessary to spread the researches being done in this field. I hope that the two days at the conference will address all the questions of the participants here and others who will get the message through media,” he said.

Dr Afrozul Haq, principal scientist, R&D Division, VPS Healthcare and the chairman of the conference, said the prevalence of hypo-vitaminosis is significantly high among population of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and many Middle Eastern countries, especially among women, despite abundant sunshine.

“In fact, deficiency of vitamin D is a major health concern around the world with teenagers from across the world were found with lowest levels of D in our study including 61,039 patients’ samples from 136 countries in a span of two years,” he said.

Experts from the USA, Europe and Asian countries are participating in the conference, providing cutting-edge information on how to deal with widespread vitamin D deficiency.

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