Vitamin D Deficiency in Australia

In response to the comment on living in Australia, which has a sunny climate. The following is an article on how common vitamin D deficiency is in Australia and New Zealand.
  1. The main source of vitamin D for Australians is exposure to sunlight. Thus, levels of blood vitamin D levels vary according to the season and are lower at the end of winter.
  2. In Australia and New Zealand, the number of people with vitamin D deficiency varies, but is acknowledged to be much higher than previously thought. One study found marginal deficiency in 23% of women, and another frank deficiency in 80% of dark-skinned and veiled women. 
  3. The groups at greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency in Australia are dark-skinned and veiled women (particularly in pregnancy), their infants, and older persons living in residential care.
  4. Only a few foods (eg, fish with a high fat content) contain significant amounts of vitamin D. In Australia, margarine and some milk and milk products are currently fortified with vitamin D.
  5. Adequate intake of vitamin D is unlikely to be achieved through dietary means, particularly in the groups at greatest risk, although vitamin D-fortified foods may assist in maintaining vitamin D status in the general population.
  6. An appropriate health message for vitamin D needs to balance the need for sunshine against the risk of skin cancer.
Nowson and Margerison. Vitamin D intake and vitamin D status of Australians. Med J Aust. 2002 Aug 5;177(3):149-52. 

"Have they heard of vitamin D supplements?"