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Knowledge of vitamin D and its supplementation among students of northern Poland

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Introduction Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide public health problem. The objective of this survey was to assess the undergraduate students’ vitamin D status and knowledge about this vitamin. Materials and methods An online multi-choice survey was designed and launched in Northern Poland (Gdańsk region). The first part of the survey assessed diet, supplementation, UV radiation exposure (UVE) and general health of respondents. The second part was a vitamin D knowledge test (vitamin D optimal level, deficiency-related diseases). 1766 student volunteers responded to the survey: 369 male and 1397 female. Data was divided according to the respondents’ sex and university affiliation. Appropriate parametric or non-parametric statistical tests were used with statistical significance set at p<0.05. Results Regular consumption of vitamin D-rich food was high, except for fish (only 18; 22%). High number of participants did not declare any type of supplementation (43; 44%) and only occasionally were exposed to UV (77%; 80%). The most frequently recognized disease linked to vitamin D was osteoporosis. Medical University students obtained higher test scores (4,55), however this did not correlate with healthy vitamin D habits. Conclusion Undergraduate medical and non-medical students have unsatisfactory vitamin D status and poor understanding of its function and impact on health, which implies the need for changes in the educational program.
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