Implications of the nutrition transition for vitamin D intake and status in Aboriginal groups in the Canadian Arctic

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Abstract

Aboriginal Canadians have low intakes of vitamin D and are shifting away from consumption of traditional foods. Higher body mass index, skin pigmentation, and geographic latitude of residence further predispose Canadian Aboriginal populations to low vitamin D status. Low vitamin D status could compromise bone health and other health outcomes. Studies assessing vitamin D status of different Aboriginal groups are limited. The aim of this review is to examine the literature on vitamin D status and intakes of Canadian Aboriginal populations living in the Arctic. PubMed was searched for relevant articles published from 1983 to 2013. The prevalence of 25-hydroxy vitamin D deficiency ranged from 13.9% to 76.0% among children and adults in the summer. Furthermore, mean vitamin D intakes among all age groups were below the estimated average requirement. As vitamin D deficiency has been recently associated with chronic diseases, and Aboriginal populations living in the Arctic are at high risk for low vitamin D status, their vitamin D status should be assessed regularly across seasons.

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