Vitamin D Nutritional PolicyThe Need for Prevention, Education and Consumer Choice Dr. Werner Christie Former Norwegian Health Minister Board Member of PA International Foundation 1
The PA International Foundation PA International (PAI) acts as a catalyst for change with a particular focus on policy. It is chaired by former Belgian Prime Minister Mark Eyskens and includes former Prime Ministers, Ministers, diplomats and others from around the world. It acts independently to assist the most vulnerable in our society – notably children. Some examples: The Child Play and Care and Elderly Support Centre in Yamada-machi, Japan The Tasik Children Foundation in Indonesia – keeping children in school The Lambrineau Foundation – establishment of a Community Home in Aceh, Indonesia, after the tsunami in 2004 2 More information is available atwww.pa-international.org
Vitamin D Deficiency in Europe Two years ago PA International started a project on raising awareness on Vitamin D deficiency in Europe. 3
At that time, there was no full agreement amongst scientists on necessary intake levels, but there was consensus that at least 50% of the European population is Vitamin D deficient.
Building Consensus on Prevention... ...this was the starting point for the engagement between the science and the patient community. It was concluded that Vitamin D has multiple preventative effects: Vitamin D is crucial for bone and muscle health. Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly linked to heart disease, many forms of cancer, diabetes, asthma, MS, infectious and neurological diseases. 4
...Building Consensus on Prevention As a next step PAI linked up the patients with the medical community – which led to the adoption of a Policy Paper on Vitamin D by the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) in October 2009: “Vitamin D supplementation (600-800 IU D3) plus calcium shouldbe considered in elderly people (older than 75 years) with an increased fracture and/or fall risk, in particular people living in nursing homes.” 5
Building Consensus on the Need for Education and Awareness Raising In order to ‘educate’ EU policy-makers and the wider public, CPME/PAI organised a major conference in the EP under the patronage of Hungarian MEP Áder including politicians, doctors, patients and academics. The event led to wide-spread media coverage and a dedicated supplement of the Parliament Magazine entitled “The sunshine supplement”. 6
Call for Action! The EP Conference led to a Call for Action to address Vitamin D deficiency. Concrete actions: Parliamentary questions and Resolution in ENVI Committee Inclusion of Vitamin D issue in health events under the Hungarian EU Presidency Consensus to enable consumer choice to ensure sufficient vitamin D intake Programme by IOF and partners to ‘map’ Vitamin D deficiency in Europe and beyond Review of policy recommendations based on achieved consensus on deficiency issue and preventive benefits (see also next slide) 7
8 Pushing for a Regulatory Review of Vitamin D The Dutch Health Council published an advice entitled “Towards an adequate intake of vitamin D” in September 2008: 400IU for vulnerable groups, 800IU for very vulnerable groups. The US Institute of Medicine updated its recommendations in November 2010: “Most Americans and Canadians up to age 70 need no more than 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per day to maintain health, and those 71 and older may need as much as 800 IUs...” The UK SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) is currently reviewing the Dietary Reference Values for vitamin D intake in order to make updated recommendations. EFSA will adopt an opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Vitamin D in 2012.
Further Achievements Clear recognition by the highest political level that vitamin D deficiency is an issue – that’s why we are here today... Adaptation of outdated advice by dermatologists regarding sun exposure Nutrition as an important and growing topic for medical practitioners Increased research and funding for Vitamin D and health outcomes 9
Next Steps PAI has accomplished its mission to act as a catalyst on this issue. However, micronutrient deficiency and nutrition security are becoming ever more important in developing and developed economies. The lessons learnt in this initiative need to be applied in the broader nutrition discussion. At the request of patients’ organisations PAI has just decided to launch a new initiative which will focus at the importance of good nutrition and its in inclusion in related policies: The Global Nutrition Partnership (GNP) For Prevention of Deficiencies 10
Next Steps (continued) The Partnership will thrive on its diversity. Interested parties are thus welcome to contact PA International for more information. We have the intention to continue the involvement of the EU Presidency and are planning an event under the Polish EU Presidency to celebrate the centenary of the discovery of Vitamin D later in 2011. We look forward to your participation! 11
For further information please visit: http://www.pa-international.org/Vitamin-D.htm Or contact: email@example.com 12