People who do not get enough sunlight and adhere to a vegetarian diet are likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Unfortunately, if you're living in England, you aren't likely getting enough vitamin D from the sun or through your diet.

Having low levels of the sunshine vitamin is associated with several unwanted health conditions such as rickets, which causes soft bones and skeletal deformities. Following publication of a research that shows the incidence of rickets among children in the UK has increased ten times over the last two decades, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has called for a national campaign to ensure that people with elevated risks for vitamin D deficiency take supplements daily.

In a drafted guidance it has launched for consultation from May 13 to June 24, NICE has called on medical practitioners to recommend daily vitamin D supplementation to individuals with increased risks for vitamin D deficiency which include children below five years old, pregnant and breastfeeding women, those with darker skin, older adults and individuals with limited sun exposure.

"This guideline aims to improve the implementation of existing recommendations on vitamin D to prevent deficiency. It focuses, in particular, on advice for at-risk groups to take a vitamin D supplement," the guidance reads.

NICE advisors have also urged the Department of Health to ensure that vitamin D supplements be made widely available from pharmacies and on prescription.

"Health professionals should also recommend a daily vitamin D supplement to people at risk of low levels, at every available opportunity," NICE Centre for Public Health director Mike Kelly told the Press Association. "Better availability and lower cost of vitamin D supplements are important, as the costs can be prohibitive for people at risk who need to take it."

GP's, however, said that more emphasis should be given on getting vitamin D naturally through sunlight and diet. Animal based foods such as eggs, cheese, fish, milk and beef liver are rich in vitamin D.

Besides risks of developing rickets, children with low levels of vitamin D may also suffer from severe asthma. Adults with the condition, on the other hand, are at increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. They are also likely to develop cancer and cognitive impairment.

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