Background: A significant part of vitamin D, which is necessary for important vital processes, a person receives with food. Vitamin D affects the proper functioning of the lungs and the immune system, which can be important in the development, severity and course of allergic diseases (asthma, eczema and food allergies). In the past two years, many studies have appeared that deal with the effect of vitamin D levels in the body on the severity of COVID-19.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the presence of vitamin D-containing foods in the diets of young people and the appearance of allergic diseases symptoms.
Methods: The study was a cross- sectional descriptive survey. Respondents included in the study were 223 first year students of Kharkiv State University of Food Technology and Trade for the years 2017-2021. Data collection was carried out by conducting two parallel questionnaires A and B. Using questionnaire A, the frequency of consumption and food preferences were assessed in relation to 22 vitamin D-containing foods. The assessment was carried out on a 5-point scale. Also, students were offered a questionnaire B, which was developed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health for the screening of allergic diseases. Before analysis of data the internal consistency and trait validity of the instrument was carried out.
Results: Analysis of the results showed that the consumption of foods rich in vitamin D is at a lower level than the respondents' desire to consume them. Consumption of vitamin D-containing foods such as cod liver, fish oil, and many types of fish is very low. It was revealed that the main food source of vitamin D is chicken eggs. This fact speaks in favor of the fact that young people in Ukraine experience a certain lack of vitamin D.
Analysis of questionnaires for screening allergic diseases showed that, depending on the year of the survey, 60-72% of the respondents had symptoms of allergic diseases. The survey also showed that in the period from 2018 to 2021, the regular intake of vitamin D increased from 7% to 15%. Statistical methods were used to assess the correlation between the studied factors.
Conclusion: The survey suggests that foods rich in vitamin D are not among the preferences of young people. As a consequence, there is a definite relationship between the presence of vitamin D deficiency in young people and a high percentage of respondents with allergic diseases symptoms.