May 24, 2024

One in 10 or 10.3 percent of Filipino children six to 12 years old from selected provinces and cities in the country is Vit. D deficient.
This is according to the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
Based on the survey, a significantly higher proportion of Vit. D insufficiency is observed in girls, six in 10 (57.6 percent) than among boys, four in 10 (43 percent), aged six to12 years old.
A Vit. D concentration of 50 to less than 75 nanomoles (nmol) per liter (L) is considered insufficient.
There are more children in urban areas (59 percent) who have insufficient Vit. D compared to their rural counterparts (45.4 percent), the study also revealed.
The survey also reported four to five in 10 Filipino children six to 12 years old across islands have insufficient levels of Vit. D – (NCR, 57.9 percent; Luzon, 45.8 percent; Visayas, 47.7 percent; and Mindanao, 51.2 percent).
The 2018 ENNS also showed among Filipino children six to 12 years old, a significantly higher proportion or one in 10 (11.9 percent) of girls are Vit. D deficient, compared to 8.6 percent of boys. A Vit. D concentration of less than 50 nmol/L is considered deficient (<50 nmol/L).
The survey added older children 11 to 12 years old have a higher likelihood of having Vit. D deficiency than younger children.
Filipino girls are 1.5 times more likely to be Vit. D deficient than boys, the study found.
The probability of having Vit. D deficiency is 5.4 times higher in children living in urban areas, the survey added.
Vitamin D, also called “sunshine vitamin,” is a micronutrient that helps increase mineral absorption like calcium which is necessary for bone health and development.
The body can make Vit. D when exposed to direct sunlight that converts a chemical in the skin into an active form of the vitamin called calcitriol.
Lack of Vit. D is strongly associated with bone disorders and diseases, such as rickets that affects bone development in children, which may result in bone fragi-lity and fracture in later years.
Vitamin D is also important in protecting the body against some forms of cancer and has recognized roles in preventing respiratory diseases.
Based on the Philippine Dietary Recommended Intakes (PDRI) developed by DOST-FNRI, recommended intake of Vit. D is five micrograms for children six to12 years old for both males and females.
The most practical and free source of Vit. D is from exposure to the sun, which is sufficient to generate our daily Vit. D requirement. – Press release