My son has asked me to use Crowd funding to do more of the Vitamin D and Healthy Life Style awareness work that I have been doing in the community.
I started the Vitamin D awareness campaign in London in 2010 while I was an MSc student for Clinical and Public Health Nutrition at UCL. My MSc dissertation was on Vitamin D deficiency in Asian overweight pregnant women (+++ risk of deficiency). Vitamin D demand is increased during pregnancy and supplement containing Vitamin D such as healthy start or other Pregnancy Vitamins should be taken during pregnancy and lactation. Vitamin D is needed to maintain Calcium levels in the blood and Muscular & Skeletal health and immune function in the body and for the development of the foetus. Women could be high at risk due to their ethnicity, life style, poor nutrition and high rate of parity. Exclusively breast fed babies need to get a Vitamin D supplement from birth.
Healthy Start vitamins are specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children.
Unfortunately, the knowledge about the importance of Vitamin supplements and healthy start Vitamins is very poor all over UK. Evideince data is available. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming epidemic due to our modern life style. Long hours are spent indoors and there is a lack of physical activities in the sun. Many health professionals have been ignorant about Vitamin D and doctors did not advise women about Vitamin D supplements or Healthy Start Vitamins according to NICE recommendations. This might had resulted in high rate of poor pregnancy outcome and poor maternal health.
Many people have this misconception that if they eat a healthy diet they can get all the vitamins from the food. But 90% of Vitamin D comes from sunlight and only 10% from food as very few food are naturally rich in Vitamin D. Researchers have linked Vitamin D deficiency to Obesity, Autoimmune & Heart diseases, Multiple sclerosis, Depression and even some Cancers. Older, darker skin, covered up clothing, increased weight and living at higher latitude can lead to deficiency. The high risk women are ethnically diverse and socially disadvantaged.
I ran several awareness workshop in local community centre. The picture is from opne of the banners used at July 2012 workshop in Forest Gate attended by 50 women and children. I also invited UK Vitamin D expert Mr. Oliver Gillie to do a talk. I started a Facebook information page and group in 2011 that now has nearly 15K members. The aim is to help people understand the importance of Vitamin D and safe sun exposure to make natural Vitamin D and knowledge about the health risks associated with Vitamin D deficiency.
With the fund ten awareness workshops will be delivered in ten community centres in East London with each reaching about 40 to 50 women and stake holders. I will traing a group of 10 volunteers with skills and knowledge about Vitamin D, Healthy Start Vitamins, nutrition and healthy life style who can then help educate other women and families in their communities. Reliable information material, leaflets and story booklets will be produced and made available in local languages to benefit people who do not speak English. A report of all the work will be made available.