An exploration into current Vitamin D supplementation practice and the barriers identified by mothers to children under the age of 5, with potential scope in identifying positive strategic methods in alleviating such obstacles.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: In recent years the UK government has highlighted the importance of vitamin D as a result of increasing cases of rickets within children. A recent survey found 70% of mothers either had not or do not supplement their child with vitamin D. Methods: To identify current practices and the barriers relating to vitamin D supplementation through eight semi-structured interviews with mothers of children under five years of age. Results: A lack of knowledge regarding the need to use supplements was reported by 75% (n=6) of participants. Only 25% (n=2) of participants reported being advised by their health visitor to supplement their child. Forgetfulness and cost was identified as a barrier in 62.5% (n=5) of participants whereas 75% (n=6) stated child acceptance of the supplement as a barrier. Participants felt compliance would be greatest with a supplement that resembled a sweet. Seven participants (87.5%) agreed that free supplement provision would increase their use. Conclusions: Despite clear recommendations for vitamin D supplementation, use is still relatively low. A range of studies have identified poor promotion from healthcare professionals. This study identified the main barriers to use as lack of knowledge, cost and child preference. This identifies the need for wider promotion amongst the population and healthcare professionals.
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