Studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have indicated that obesity, which affects thirty per cent of American citizens, can be held responsible for many health-related issues, amongst others Type 2 diabetes, strokes, cancer and coronary heart disease. Their latest findings link obesity to a deficiency in Vitamin D: overweight can lead to a deficiency in Vitamin D; however, the converse is not true a Vitamin D deficiency has very little effect on obesity.

In a press release issued by the Institute of Child Health of University College, London, it was indicated by Dr Elina Hypponen, that a Vitamin D deficiency in the body is a global health concern, which should not only be attributed to a sun-free environment, but can also be linked to the growing numbers of obese people.

Exposure to sunlight means that its ultraviolet rays are absorbed by the skin. The body then processes this into Vitamin D, which is fat-soluble. Many food stuffs contain Vitamin D naturally, and it is also possible to ingest it in a tablet form, as a supplement to the diet. Vitamin D is traditionally linked to strong, healthy bones. What happens is that calcium absorption in the body is promoted, as is the maintenance of calcium and phosphate levels in the blood. It is this that keeps bones strong. Further aid from Vitamin D comes in neuromuscular function, immunity and cell growth, as well as in the prevention of inflammation.

Genetic markers from 42 000 participants in 21 groups were studied by researchers to try to establish a connection between Vitamin D and obesity. It was found that for every 10% increase in BMI (body mass index) there was a 4% drop in Vitamin D levels, across genders and all age groups.

While some have hinted at obesity being a natural response of the body to winter when there is less sun to produce Vitamin D, it was thought that since Vitamin D is stored in fat, this might prevent its circulation in obese people.

Ultimately, the importance of exercise was stressed outside in the sun. This would aid the lack of Vitamin D, as well as doing something about correcting weight disorders.