Online Program

Health disparities and the vitamin d connection: Local and global health consequences

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Michael Holick, Ph.D., M.D., School of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA
Azzie Young, PhD, MS, MPA, Mattapan Community Health Center, Boston, MA
The differences in incidence and severity of chronic illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, type 2 diabetes, infant mortality and total mortality in populations associated with health disparities has been linked to vitamin D deficiency. A study at our hospital revealed that 40 mostly black and Hispanic pregnant women who received 600 IUs of vitamin D daily from diet and supplements at the time they gave birth 76% of them and 81% of their newborns were vitamin D deficient. An evaluation of 253 women giving birth revealed they had a 100% increased risk for requiring a cesarean section if they were vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with increased risk for preeclampsia, low birth weight and poor birth outcomes. We have promoted vitamin D nutrition for pregnant women at the Mattapan Community Health Center and at the annual Mattapan community health revival for the past 8 years. Infant mortality rate dropped below Boston's overall rate of 6.2 in 2005-2009. Thus strategies to improve the vitamin D status in the underserved may help to bridge the gap in health disparities. Data will be presented on the role of improvement in vitamin D status for the overall health of the underserved and related to improvement in genetic health of the immune system.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe how to determine and treat vitamin D deficiency. Describe the role of vitamin D for reducing risk of chronic illnesses in underserved communities. Describe how vitamin D deficiency is associated with health disparities related to cancer, heart disease, infectious diseases and type 2 diabetes. Describe various factors that influence the vitamin D status in underserved communities.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been conducting basic and clinical research in the field of vitamin D for more than 30 years. Azzie Young is the President & CEO of a community health center in an underserved community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.