Within the last decade, multiple studies have demonstrated the potential health benefits of vitamin D supplementation including improved bone health, reduced fracture risk, protection from autoimmune disease, and decreased cancer risk. Because of the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pediatric populations and despite recent evidence of increased vitamin D supplementation in the United States, our goal is to assess the knowledge of current vitamin D recommendations among pediatric orthopaedists and fellows within the Pediatric Society of North America (POSNA). It is our purpose to use the data to increase awareness and understanding of vitamin D among all pediatric providers.
Our survey was distributed to 1316 POSNA members via a series of 2 email requests to participate in the survey on the SurveyMonkey website. They agreed to participate by responding positively on the first page of the survey. The data was depersonalized and analyzed via χ2 and the Fisher exact testing.
A total of 395 responses were recorded. Overall, 69% of participants rated their vitamin D knowledge as fair to good. In total, 68% of participants have been in practice over 10 years and represented most US geographic regions fairly equally. Most estimate that over 25% of their practice is vitamin D deficient with about a 50% compliance rate of supplementation. Over 30% of participants feel vitamin D management is mostly the role of the pediatrician; however, 64% of participants discuss or check vitamin D levels in their practice for patients with repeat fractures, medical comorbidities, or nonunions most commonly.
Survey participants demonstrated a wide variety of responses indicating their understanding of vitamin D testing and supplementation. Although providers estimate a high deficiency rate, many do not routinely check vitamin D. When they do check, there is no standard indication for testing or supplementation and many believe this to be the role of the pediatrician or endocrinologist. More studies are needed to provide a standardized protocol for vitamin D testing and supplementation in the pediatric orthopaedic literature.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center, Columbia, SC
None of the authors received financial support for this study.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Reprints: Kevin Williams, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 2 Medical Park, Suite 404, Columbia, SC 29203. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.