Is your child cooped away in their dark and dingy bedroom and not a thread of light has shined through the curtans in a while?

If this is fast becoming a regular occurrence, maybe it's time you encourage your child to get some fresh air as it could be causing a lot of damage to their health.

Many children who spend the majority of their time indoors is lacking natural sunlight and are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

NHS testing revealed up to a third of the population could be deficient highlighting the seriousness of the issue.

500 people who checked their levels using BetterYou's vitamin D home testing service by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust, were found to have inadequate levels of the sunshine vitamin, meaning millions could be at risk of deficiency if the results were applied on a national scale.

Health pioneers BetterYou say the true problem is probably even more severe, as people who test their levels are already likely to be more health aware.

Andrew Thomas, founder and managing director at BetterYou, said: "The high incidence of deficiency we've uncovered is extremely worrying, but doesn't surprise us at all. What's particularly shocking is that the majority of people we test are people who are already switched on enough to get their levels checked.

"This means they may already take supplements, boosting their levels and skewing these figures in favour of them having adequate levels. With this in mind, we think the 30 per cent deficiency rates our tests have uncovered could merely be the tip of the iceberg."

These findings coincide with the third annual National Vitamin D Awareness Week, led by BetterYou, which aims to 'banish the buts' when it comes to protecting Brits from the health impact of deficiency.

Health experts now fear the UK's under-5s - already deemed an at-risk group by the Department of Health - may be missing out vitamin D, due to a lack of awareness of its benefits and the associated potential health risks.

  1. But I give my kids plenty of calcium… Banish the buts…Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium to build strong teeth and bones. It also helps prevent bone diseases like rickets, which are on the rise.
  2. But my kids are too young for supplements… Banish the buts…the Department of Health recommends vitamin D supplementation from 6 months old, due to the lack of essential vitamin D in our diet.
  3. But I have a healthy diet… You'd still need to drink 80 glasses of milk a day to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D. Banish the buts…only 10% of our essential vitamin D comes from our diet.
  4. But I'm often outdoors… The UK is one of the cloudiest countries in the industrialised world. Banish the buts…cloud cover and low sun dramatically reduce our ability to produce vitamin D.
  5. But I wasn't told I needed vitamin D… 90% of mums have not been advised about the importance of vitamin D.* Banish the buts…the Department of Health identify those pregnant and breastfeeding as 'at risk' groups requiring supplementation.

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