Immigrant and refugee children living in Canada are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
Immigrant and refugee children living in Canada are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, according to a study done by a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, the CBC reported last week. Out of the sample of 130 refugee and immigrant children between the ages of seven and 11, an alarmingly high percent (82 percent of the refugee children and 54 percent of the immigrant children) were considered deficient in the vitamin.
The vitamin has been linked to healthy bones, and immunity, and may also play a role in preventing certain cancers as well as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
Vitamin D is found in certain foods (such as fatty fish and mushrooms) and fortified in others (such as milk) but is also absorbed through the skin from sunlight. In harsh, overcast Canadian winters, sourcing sufficient quantities of vitamin D this way is nearly impossible. From November to February, it is suspected that UV levels are not strong enough for our bodies to acquire enough vitamin D from sunlight.
There are a few reasons why children who are newcomers to Canada may be more likely to be deficient in this healthy vitamin. One potential reason is that they are not as likely to consume foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk. Those with darker skin are also less able to absorb the vitamin from the sun.
Vitamin D supplements offer an alternative to ensure you get adequate amounts of the vitamin.