Palacios C & Gonzalez L.
Vitamin D deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide in all age groups, even in those residing in countries with low latitude, where it was generally assumed that UV radiation was adequate enough to prevent this deficiency, and in industrialized countries, where vitamin D fortification has been implemented now for years. However, most countries are still lacking data, particularly population representative data, with very limited information in infants, children, adolescents and pregnant women. Since the number of recent publications is escalating, with a broadening of the geographic diversity, the objective of the present report was to conduct a more recent systematic review of global vitamin D status, with particular emphasis in at risk groups. A systematic review was conducted in PubMed/Medline in April–June 2013 to identify articles on vitamin D status worldwide published in the last 10 years in apparently healthy individuals. Only studies with vitamin D status prevalence were included. If available, the first source selected was population-based or representative samples studies. Clinical trials, case-control studies, case reports or series, reviews, validation studies, letters, editorials, or qualitative studies were excluded. A total of 103 articles were eligible and included in the present report. Maps were created for each age group, providing an updated overview of global vitamin D status. In areas with available data, the prevalence of low vitamin D status is a global problem in all age groups, in particular in girls and women from the Middle East. These maps also evidenced the regions with missing data for each specific population groups. There is striking lack of data in infants, children and adolescents worldwide, and in most countries of South America and Africa. In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency is a global public health problem in all age groups, particularly in those from the Middle East.