WEBINAR - Archives

Introduction to Vitamin D During Pregnancy, Lactation & Early Infancy-Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD,CFLE


As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, vitamin D is credited with a multitude of health benefits. Research that supports a beneficial claim is followed so swiftly by research that rejects the claim that keeping up with what is supported by the scientific evidence can become quite difficult. While we find this high level of controversy intellectually stimulating, we have found that it often produces skepticism in the community groups with which we work; coalitions designed to improve the health outcomes of infants and young children. This skepticism often results in a desire to wait until all of the controversies have be resolved before considering any actions related to vitamin D supplementation for infants. The primary goal of this webinar is to help members of community health coalitions understand the importance and the role of Vitamin D and that not everything said about vitamin D should be distrusted. In order to achieve this goal we start this webinar by presenting the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines on vitamin D intake for newborns. We describe these guidelines, the rationale behind them, and the fact that they have not been successfully implemented. We discuss the implications of this failure for at risk infants found in terms of bone mineralization, calcium regulation, and immune system functioning. We introduce evidence to support the idea that even infants who are apparently healthy can have insufficient levels of vitamin D. We discuss some of the steps that can be taken to increase compliance: education for physicians, other health care professionals, and parents. We believe that many of the barriers encountered in providing direct supplementation to infants can be overcome by a paradigm shifting approach which employs maternal supplementation to meet the needs of infants. In conclusion, we will discuss some of the recent research which has attempted to identify a daily intake of vitamin D which is safe and effective for a diverse population of pregnant and lactating women. Ann Creighton-Zollar received a Master of Science in Health and Nutrition Education, Magna Cum Laude, from Hawthorn University (2013). Ann earned a BA (1973), MA (1976), and PhD (1980) in sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She spent 30 years on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond where she taught, engaged in research and scholarship, and provided service to VCU, the profession, and the community. Ann is the author of several books, chapters in books, and a number of peer reviewed journal articles. Her published works focus on "the family" and on racial disparities in health. She is a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) with a focus on parenting education. Ann believed that both her work in parenting education and her attempts to help reduce racial disparities in health would benefit from a stronger focus on nutrition and as Professor Emerita, she has pursued this passion. She provides workshops and consultation services to community organizations. She participates in coalitions dedicated to improving the health of families at both the state and local levels. Vitamin D is not the only nutritional topic in which Ann is interested. She is also very enthusiastic about the use of traditional African Heritage eating patterns to inspire lifestyles that promote positive health outcomes for African Americans. She believes that in order to restore their health, African Americans must reclaim their nutritional heritage. As a sociologist, she is also fascinated by the process through which the findings of nutritional science are translated into nutritional policy. The spring semester of 2014 will find her returning to the university to facilitate a graduate seminar, the Sociology of Nutrition, which focuses on this process.