University of Helsinki, Finland
PhD Suvi Itkonen is a nutrition scientist whose research interest lies in dietary phosphorus, vitamin D and especially in the effects of vitamin D food fortification on public health. Her current work focuses on the effects of plant protein-based diets on phosphate metabolism and bone health. She has received the title of docent (adjunct professor) in September 2019. She has also been involved in the board work of Finnish Society for Nutrition Research since 2013. She has worked as a secretary for the “Workshop on Vitamin D Status in the Nordic Countries” that was arranged in Helsinki in November 2018, gathering vitamin D experts from the Nordic countries to discuss the situation and challenges regarding vitamin D. She is the first author of the paper published based on the workshop results.
Although Nordic countries share common nutrition recommendations, there are differences between the countries in the implementation of the recommendations and the policies and practices to achieve adequate vitamin D intake and status. Vitamin D fortification policies can be mandatory or voluntary and widespread, moderate or non-existent. Vitamin D supplementation recommendations also differ, ranging from all age groups being recommended to take supplements to only infants. In the general population of the Nordic countries, vitamin D status and intake are suboptimal, but better than in the risk groups that are not consuming vitamin D supplements or foods containing vitamin D. Non-Western immigrant populations of all Nordic countries share the problem of vitamin D insufficiency or even deficiency. There is a growing need for wider Nordic collaboration studies as well as for strategies to improve vitamin D status, especially in risk groups.