Over 80% of India's population is Vitamin D deficient and is at risk from health complications like diabetes and heart disorders, experts said.
They emphasised that Vitamin D deficiency doesn't exhibit early signs or symptoms, and over a period of time makes people highly vulnerable to major diseases with a 45% chance of early death.
"People in India are oblivious to the fact that Vitamin D deficiency could lead to serious health problems like diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases and even cancer," said M.C. Misra, director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS).
He was speaking at the launch of "Bon D Light campaign", an initiative by pharmaceutical company Glenmark in collaboration with AIIMS to generate mass awareness across the country about Vitamin D deficiency.
In its 15 city voyage, the campaign would be joined by local medical practitioners. The doctors will explain the etiology of Vitamin D deficiency.
"This campaign is a model campaign, thoughtfully conceived and formulated to generate public awareness around Vitamin D deficiency among Indians. It is a unique patient outreach module," Misra said while launching the campaign.
Preetaish Kaul, senior consultant with Heal Foundation, said: "The reason people who appear to be physically fit do not come to know about the Vitamin D deficiency is because the indications of Vitamin D deficiency remain silent and sub clinical.
"Health and fitness become even more important in the second half of life that is after retirement. Awareness around the role of Vitamin D in maintaining optimum health will certainly play a vital role in improving general well being of elderly population of the country," Kaul said.
Sanjeev Bagai, vice-chairman and director-dean of Delhi-based Manipal Hospital, said: "Very few people in the country know that Vitamin D is necessary to carry out physiological processes of body normally."
"Such initiatives are important to help people understand the importance of Vitamin D and identify ways to counter its loss," said Bagai, a Padma Shri awardee.