Vitamin D deficiency: prevention or treatment?

Arch Dis Child. 2006 Dec;91(12):1011-4.
Zipitis CS, Markides GA, Swann IL.Burnley
BACKGROUND: Vitamin D deficiency is a chronic condition which contributes togeneral ill health and seems to be re-emerging in our catchment area sincefunding of vitamin D supplementation by Primary Care Trusts ceased. This studyaims to verify this situation and to assess the cost effectiveness ofreintroducing vitamin D supplementation in the Burnley Health Care NHS Trust.
METHODS: Vitamin D deficient patients presenting between January 1994 and May2005 were identified and data retrospectively collected from their case notes.The cost of treatment and the theoretical cost of primary prevention for theTrust population were calculated using previous and current DoH guidelines.
RESULTS: Fourteen patients were identified, of whom 86% presented in the last 5years and 93% were of Asian origin. The incidence of vitamin D deficiency forour population is 1 in 923 children overall and 1 in 117 in children of Asianorigin. The average cost of treatment for each such child is pound2500, whilethe theoretical cost of prevention of vitamin D deficiency in the Asianpopulation through primary prevention according to COMA guidance is pound2400per case.
CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D deficiency is re-emerging in our Trust. Theoverwhelming majority of our patients are of Asian origin. The cost of primaryprevention for this high risk population compares favourably both medically andfinancially with treatment of established disease. We suggest that Primary CareTrusts provide funds for vitamin D supplementation of Asian children for atleast the first 2 years of life.