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Poorer Swedes with African immigrant background suffer from Vitamin D deficiency

Monday, 04 April 2011
Many foreign-born, particularly Africans who are also the poorest among the Swedish population, are suffering from vitamin D deficiency in Sweden, a country which is also generally poor in sunshine.

This vitamin D deficiency among people born abroad can be a bigger problem than the authorities understood. For years, the medical centre in  L�rjedalen in Angered, near Gothenburg, Sweden, where more African immigrants live, have noticed a sky rocketing amount of people with Vitamin D deficiency from tests carried among that group of the population who visit the clinic.

Since last year, when some of results where being published, much has been talked about the issue and dietary guidelines where proposed but not much action was taken. Recently, the medical authorities have started stepping up their campaign for new dietary guidelines again.

Some example of required sources of Vitamin D is from fish sources such as Salmon and Herring. But there is a problem. These are very expensive sources of vitamin D and the population being talk about are very poor bottom of the society who cannot get a proper job in a very discriminatory Swedish job market. Their incomes generated mostly from handouts or very low paid jobs are not enough for them to indulge in ‘Swedish foods’ that is rich in such vitamins.

So, if the authorities do care, how this can be achieved – remain a mystery. The issue of diet improvement was considered since last year but not much action has been taken and this could better explain by the fact that it concerns a sector of the society that not much a damn is give to in Sweden.
Regular consumption of fish, especially oily fish (salmon, herring, mackerel) and vitamin D fortified products, as skimmed milk and margarine could be enough to provide adequate amounts of vitamin D even in long and cold Swedish winter.
Those who do not eat these foods could be in for a bit of problems. Vitamin D can also be gained through the skin via sunlight, but dark-skinned people (black people) are harder to pick up the sunlight and therefore are required supplements.

A specific case in point has been the examination of Somali women whom media reports last year showed that studies indicated that they mostly lack vitamin D, to a greater extent than Swedish women. One theory is that, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency leads to the high incidence of autism among children with a Somali background that in Swedish background.

Since 2005, the health centre in L�rjedalen, in Angered near Gothenburg where more Somalis live, carried out tests and medics noted that over 40 percent of visitors had vitamin D deficiency.

“It is not just about Somali women but also for other sector of the population that do not eat typical Swedish food, “said Hj�rdis Fohrman, doctors at the health centre.

Vitamin D samples have been collected from 1585 individuals who sought medical care since 2006. Of them, 686 persons had values of very low vitamin D content.

“We saw that the shortage was common. Besides that we live a country where sunshine is very poor. This is an important dietary issue,” says Hj�rdis Fohrman.

Welfare in Finland already recommended preventive vitamin D intake for dark-skinned people. The health center in L�rjedalen has written about the problem to the Swedish Welfare and Public Health Institute, as yet, no one has responded.

“We want concrete proposals on the dose of vitamin D that we can provide. The current Swedish recommendations are very fuzzy, particularly to pregnant women and children, "said Hjordis Fohrman.

Now the medical personnel in the area is forced to seek knowledge from other countries.
“We have tried to locate in the UK and USA, but we need to Swedish guidelines, and we want to know who the risk groups among our immigrants, "said Fohrman.

by Scancomark.se Team

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