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Vitamin D deficiencies


2 Star

Vitamin D deficiencies

Our Review Summary

This broadcast merely told viewers that an un-named group of doctors had determined that most people, including infants, needed more vitamin D than they were currently getting. It didn’t tell viewers who had come to this conclusion, how the conclusion had been reached, how great the danger was, or how much benefit they might hope to gain.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of the cost for vitamin D supplements.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

While warning us of concerns regarding many of the common chronic conditions afflicting humans that may result from inadequate consumption of vitamin D/ or exposure to sunlight – there was no information about the magnitude of the risk of the various diseases mentioned resulting from low levels of vitamin D.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


This broadcast did, at least mention in passing, that there were harms associated with excessive consumption of vitamin D and so one should discuss dosing of infants with one’s pediatrician.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

There was little discussion of the evidence for the claims made. The viewer was only told that ‘a leading pediatrician’s group’ had just come out with a recommendation that higher levels of vitamin D needed to be consumed.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

Considering that the broadcast mentioned problems with bone development, osteoporosis, heart disease, blood pressure control, diabetes, and ‘even’ cancer – this segment could be considered to have engaged in disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

The sole interview was with a physician/editor from ‘Health Magazine’. But why was that person chosen? Why not someone from the American Academy of Pediatrics – only referred to as either "They" or "A leading pediatrician’s group"? This does not allow a viewer to gather more information from the group issuing the recommendation. The broadcast did not provide any information about the quality of the evidence leading to the conclusions presented.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

In passing, exposure to sunlight, vitamin D fortified milk and orange juice, as well as dietary supplements were mentioned as means of obtaining adequate amounts of vitamin D. However, there was no discussion as to how one assesses whether one has adequate amounts of vitamin D or not.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

This broadcast recommended that breast fed infants as well as other who were not either consuming adequate amounts of vitamin D or receiving sufficient sun exposure use vitamin D supplements. It was not clear from the broadcast as to whether these were available over-the-counter or would require a doctor’s prescription.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The piece accurately reflected the novelty of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


The broadcast did not rely exclusively on the press release from the ‘leading group of pediatricians’ as there was a clinician interviewed as part of the segment.

Total Score: 3 of 10 Satisfactory


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