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Little research has assessed serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration and its predictors in western dwelling South Asians in a relatively large sample size. This observational, cross-sectional analysis assessed baseline prevalence of 25(OH)D deficiency in UK dwelling South Asians (aged 40-69 years, 2006-2010) from the UK Biobank cohort. Serum 25(OH)D measurements were undertaken using the DiaSorin Liaison XL assay. Of n 6433 South Asians with a 25(OH)D measurement, using commonly used cut-off thresholds, 55% (n 3538) had 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L (severe deficiency) and 92% (n 5918) had 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L (insufficiency). Twenty per cent (n 1287) had 25(OH)D concentration <15 nmol/L (very severe deficiency). When n 824 participants with undetectable (<10 nmol/L) 25(OH)D measurements were included (total n 7257), 29% (n 2105) had 25(OH)D <15 nmol/L, 60% (n 4354) had 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L and 93% (n 6749) had 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L. Logistic regression predictors of 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L included the following characteristics: being male; Pakistani; higher body mass index; 40-59 years old; never consuming oily fish; summer sun exposure < 5 hours per day, not using a vitamin D containing supplement, measurement in winter or spring and vegetarianism. In terms of region, median 25(OH)D concentration was 19-20 nmol/L in Scotland, Northern England, the Midlands and Wales. Across Southern England and London it was slightly higher at 24-25 nmol/L. Our analyses suggest the need for increased awareness of vitamin D deficiency in South Asians as well as urgent public health interventions to prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency in this group.
Vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D; 25(OH)D) is at epidemic proportions in western dwelling South Asian populations, including severe deficiency (<12⋅5 nmol/l) in 27–60% of individuals, depending on season. The paper aimed to review the literature concerning vitamin D concentrations in this population group. Research from the UK and Europe suggests a high prevalence of South Asians with 25(OH)D concentration <25 nmol/l, with most having a 25(OH)D concentration of <50 nmol/l. In Canada, South Asians appear to have a slightly higher 25(OH)D concentration. There are few studies from the United States, South Africa and Australasia. Reasons for vitamin D deficiency include low vitamin D intake, relatively high adiposity, sun exposure avoidance and wearing of a covered dress style for cultural reasons. Possible health effects of deficiency include bone diseases such as rickets and hypocalcaemia in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D deficiency may also increase the risk of other chronic diseases. Increased fortification of food items relevant to South Asian groups (e.g. chapatti flour), as well as increased use of vitamin D supplements may help reduce this epidemic. Introducing culturally acceptable ways of increasing skin exposure to the sun in South Asian women may also be beneficial but further research is needed to assess the effectiveness of different approaches. There may be a need for a South Asian specific vitamin D dietary intake guideline in western countries. To conclude, vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in South Asians living in western countries and there is a clear need for urgent public health action.
Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D<25 nmol/l) is extremely common in Western-dwelling South Asians but evidence regarding vitamin D supplement usage in this group is very limited. This work identifies demographic, dietary and lifestyle predictors associated with vitamin D supplement use.
Cross-sectional analysis of baseline vitamin D supplement use data.
UK Biobank cohort.
In total, 8024 South Asians (Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani), aged 40–69 years.
Twenty-three per cent of men and 39 % of women (P<0·001) (22 % of Bangladeshis, 32 % of Indians, 25 % of Pakistanis (P<0·001)) took a vitamin-D-containing supplement. Median vitamin D intakes from diet were low at 1·0–3·0 µg/d, being highest in Bangladeshis and lowest in Indians (P<0·001). Logistic regression modelling showed that females had a higher odds of vitamin D supplement use than males (OR=2·02; 95 % CI 1·79, 2·28). A lower supplement usage was seen in younger persons (40–60 years v. >60 years: OR=0·75; 95 % CI 0·65, 0·86) and in those living outside Greater London (OR=0·53 to 0·77), with borderline trends for a lower BMI, higher oily fish intake and higher household income associated with increased odds of vitamin D supplement use.
Vitamin D supplements were not used by most South Asians and intakes from diet alone are likely to be insufficient to maintain adequate vitamin D status. Public health strategies are now urgently required to promote the use of vitamin D supplements in these specific UK South Asian subgroups.
Seafood intake in pregnancy has been positively associated with childhood cognitive outcomes which could potentially relate to the high vitamin D content of oily fish. However, whether higher maternal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)) in pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of offspring suboptimal neurodevelopmental outcomes is unclear. A total of 7065 mother–child pairs were studied from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort who had data for both serum total 25(OH)D concentration in pregnancy and at least one measure of offspring neurodevelopment (pre-school development at 6–42 months; ‘Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’ scores at 7 years; intelligence quotient (IQ) at 8 years; reading ability at 9 years). After adjustment for confounders, children of vitamin D-deficient mothers (<50·0 nmol/l) were more likely to have scores in the lowest quartile for gross-motor development at 30 months (OR 1·20; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·40), fine-motor development at 30 months (OR 1·23; 95 % CI 1·05, 1·44) and social development at 42 months (OR 1·20; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·41) than vitamin D-sufficient mothers (≥50·0 nmol/l). No associations were found with neurodevelopmental outcomes, including IQ, measured at older ages. However, our results suggest that deficient maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy may have adverse effects on some measures of motor and social development in children under 4 years. Prevention of vitamin D deficiency may be important for preventing suboptimal development in the first 4 years of life.
To determine if children aged 1–6 years from non-Western immigrant families have lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels than children from Western-born families and examine which factors influence this relationship.
Healthy children (n 1540) recruited through the TARGet Kids! practice-based research network. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations of non-Western immigrants were compared with those of children from Western-born families. Children from non-Western immigrant families were defined as those born, or their parents were born, outside a Western country. Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses were used to identify factors which might influence this relationship.
Median age was 36 months, 51 % were male, 86 % had ‘light’ skin pigmentation, 55 % took vitamin D supplements, mean cow's milk intake was 1·8 cups/d and 27 % were non-Western immigrants. Median serum 25(OH)D concentration was 83 nmol/l, with 5 % having 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/l. Univariable analysis revealed that non-Western immigrant children had serum 25(OH)D lower by 4 (95 % CI 1·3, 8·0) nmol/l (P = 0·006) and increased odds of 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/l (OR = 1·9; 95 % CI 1·3, 2·9). After adjustment for known vitamin D determinants the observed difference attenuated to 0·04 (95 % CI −4·8, 4·8) nmol/l (P = 0·99), with higher cow's milk intake (P < 0·0001), vitamin D supplementation (P < 0·0001), summer season (P = 0·008) and increased age (P = 0·04) being statistically significant covariates. Vitamin D supplementation was the strongest explanatory factor of the observed difference.
There is an association between non-Western immigration and lower 25(OH)D in early childhood. This difference appears related to known vitamin D determinants, primarily vitamin D supplementation, representing opportunities for intervention.
The future of centimetre and metre-wave astronomy lies with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a telescope under development by a consortium of 17 countries that will be 50 times more sensitive than any existing radio facility. Most of the key science for the SKA will be addressed through large-area imaging of the Universe at frequencies from a few hundred MHz to a few GHz. The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a technology demonstrator aimed in the mid-frequency range, and achieves instantaneous wide-area imaging through the development and deployment of phased-array feed systems on parabolic reflectors. The large field-of-view makes ASKAP an unprecedented synoptic telescope that will make substantial advances in SKA key science. ASKAP will be located at the Murchison Radio Observatory in inland Western Australia, one of the most radio-quiet locations on the Earth and one of two sites selected by the international community as a potential location for the SKA. In this paper, we outline an ambitious science program for ASKAP, examining key science such as understanding the evolution, formation and population of galaxies including our own, understanding the magnetic Universe, revealing the transient radio sky and searching for gravitational waves.