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Low awareness of vitamin D could be putting the nation’s bone health at risk

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, but few people know how to get enough, according to new research.

Despite vitamin D being essential for healthy bones, only half of people (51%) realise that it is important for bone health and 43% have never even considered what they need to do to look after their bones, according to a recent poll of 2,000 UK adults by YouGov and commissioned by the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS)*.

Dr Rosemary Leonard MBE is joining forces with the ROS to raise awareness of this important vitamin, and the need to protect our bones throughout life.

Rosemary said: “The benefits of getting enough vitamin D are huge for bone health because having low levels can increase your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.

There’s a small amount of vitamin D in some foods, but it’s difficult to get enough from food alone, so what we absorb via sunlight is vital. Supplements can also be a useful way to top up too.

We have all been inside a lot more because of the pandemic, meaning that it’s become more essential than ever to consider whether we’re getting enough vitamin D.”

Unfortunately, the recent poll showed less than four in ten (37%) people realise that you can only get vitamin D from sunlight between April and September in the UK.

Rosemary said: “From April through the summer we can get good amounts of vitamin D from sunlight. During these months, it’s recommended that you expose your skin for short periods to direct sunlight for around 10 minutes, once or twice a day. From the end of September to the beginning of April though, we should all consider taking a daily 10 microgram vitamin D supplement because we can’t get it from sunlight.”

While people may be missing out on vitamin D from the sun at key times of year, recent polling has shown that 49% of people are also missing out on vitamin D during the autumn and winter months by not supplementing their intake.

“There are around 3.5 million people with osteoporosis in the UK today but there are things we can all do to help our bones stay strong.” Rosemary continued. “A healthy balanced diet with adequate calcium, weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercise and crucially, getting enough vitamin D, are key.”

A new initiative from the ROS has been developed to help people to make good choices for their bones when it comes to diet and lifestyle. Whenever consumers see the ‘Bone Health Approved’ logo on a product or service, they can feel confident that the charity’s experts agree that the product is good for bones.

Half of women and 20% of men over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis1 – a condition where your bones become weak and break more easily – so, it’s never too early or too late to act on your bone health.

You can find out more about vitamin D, nutrition and exercise for good bone health on the Royal Osteoporosis Society website:

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2082 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st – 22nd April 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

  1. Van Staa TP, Dennison EM, Leufkens HG, Cooper C. Epidemiology of fractures in England and Wales. Bone. 29(6)517-22 (2001).

To find out more about the Bone Health Accreditation Scheme, you can visit

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