June 10, 2015

Director's Letter 


Pregnant women can't wait!


The health of women during pregnancy determines the future health of her child, and there is evidence that her health affects the next generation as well.

As of today, June 10, 2015, GrassrootsHealth is offering FREE vitamin D blood spot testing for the first 100 pregnant women who enroll in Protect our Children NOW! (they must be 12-17 weeks gestation).  We also aim to supply them with free supplements.  As part of the project, there are additional tests at 24 weeks and 36 weeks gestation. The participant will be expected to fill out a health questionnaire and submit tests at these times and once after birth.

From the Save the Children Report, the US Ranks as the worst developed country for maternal health. In the US, more than 11% of all births (448,000 as of 2013) are preterm, i.e., born at less than 37 weeks gestation. With the Hollis/Wagner study, supplementation to get to the 40 ng/ml level was safe and, at 40 ng/ml, the risk of preterm birth had an overall reduction of approximately 50% (224,000 babies lives affected). That's a cost savings of $6 billion per year. At present, a number of women who had preterm births with their prior pregnancy are being provided a weekly progesterone shot, '17P', to help reduce their probability of a second preterm birth. The effectiveness of this medicine is approximately 30%, the cost is $50,000 per pregnancy. The cost of vitamin D for a pregnancy is $15 and the expected effectiveness of reducing preterm births is 50%. At the very least, women should have vitamin D and testing during their pregnancy to get their serum levels to 40 ng/ml.

Are you pregnant?  Do you know any women who are/who would fit the 12-17 weeks gestation period time frame?  Please read the 'iceberg' article below, showing the long term effects of vitamin D on pregnancy. We can't wait!  Please reach out to your pregnant friends, family, co-workers and community members. Send to a birthing center, local hospital, OB/GYN community.

You can help us create a nationwide action group to further lead the efforts to get this deficiency and, its solution, to the attention of the masses.  We are using the same grassroots methodologies that have worked for us in the past -- get the message to the masses, work with crowdfunding techniques to support the activities. We will be providing more information next week about other ideas for making this work in your community, throughout the nation! 

Please contact me at [email protected] about any suggestions you have at this time.  We're very eager to keep this moving rapidly.  Lives depend on it NOW!  It's up to us.




Carole Baggerly 

Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

Rickets is Only the Tip of the Iceberg 

Many of you know that vitamin D sufficiency is not just about protecting our bones or preventing rickets. That might have been the start of vitamin D supplementation, but it is not the end. To illustrate that point, GrassrootsHealth created this image.  


Click on picture to download image

How does this work?


After someone sees this iceberg they probably get the idea - that most of the population is just hovering above the water... But what are the numbers? Our Disease Incidence Prevention Chart shows us:

  • 20 ng/ml cures rickets.
  • 30-40 ng/ml improves falls and fractures.
  • 40-60 ng/ml prevents disease.
Click to download full chart

Ho Hum... I'll wait and see

No! The time is now - whether for pregnancy or future prevention. Every day you are sufficient aids in disease prevention. Don't wait until you are diagnosed, get ahead of the curve. Don't wait until you have a baby, do it now, while pregnant or before you get pregnant!

Video of the Week 

Vitamin D and Public Health Practice

Mary Pittaway, MA, RD
Missoula, Montana

Mary Pittaway, registered dietitian and public health nutritionist, has been involved in public health for 35 years, serving state and county governments, non-profit and private organizations. She received her BA at Holy Names College in Spokane, completed a dietetic Internship at UW- Harborview Medical Center and earned her MA in Communication at University of Montana. She's led many public health nutrition programs including Montana's WIC program, the launch of community sustainable agriculture efforts, osteoporosis prevention, population based breastfeeding promotion, obesity prevention and nutrition intervention for people with IDD.   Pittaway is currently the Global Clinical Advisor for Health Promotion with Special Olympics International. She also teaches at the University of Montana Department Of Health And Human Performance. 

Pittaway starts her talk by explaining how the Missoula Health Department looks at the community. Instead of looking at a lab report and diagnosing one person, they look at epidemiology reports to spot trends. They frequently reference the parable of the "upstream story" and ask themselves how they could benefit people upstream - at the source of the problem - rather than focusing on the symptoms. And when implementing policies, they take into account the needs and cultural influence of the community. What might work in Missoula, Montana might not work in New York City!
After explaining the life of a public health official, Pittaway goes on to explain how she has gotten the community of Missoula energized about vitamin D. Some tools she created, some she leveraged off the Internet. How did she convince the staff? How did they get the doctors involved? After much work, Missoula doctors now check vitamin D levels yearly for their patients. Residents know their vitamin D level and its importance to good health and disease prevention.
Much of Pittaway's presentation focuses on tools - which ones work and which don't. She ends with an African proverb - "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together." This has been her passion - to get everyone in the community educated on vitamin D so the community could reap its health benefits together.

Editor's Letter 


GrassrootsHealth has built a community - you - of support. Today we are asking you to spread the word. This will not cost you money, but it will cost you time. If this newsletter resonates with you - think of how many people need to know this information.


You are probably beyond the childbearing years (most of our D*action cohort is), but what about your daughters, nieces, friends, co-workers, etc... What if you could go back in time - would you sign up for the study? I know I would.


I did know about vitamin D's relationship to health by the time I was pregnant with my third child. I did follow GrassrootsHealth's recommendation of 40-60 ng/ml both during the pregnancy, during lactation, and after for both myself and my child. Don't tell the other two, but my third child has some physical, intellectual and emotional strengths that my other two just don't have. So why did I wait? Was it because I don't love my first two children as much? No! It was strictly because I didn't know about the research and the very simple solution (sun or supplementation).


Who can you contact today to tell about this problem? Who can you reach out to so that more pregnant women will join our study and improve the lives of their children?


Thank you for your support,


Susan Siljander       

Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & 

Research Organization  

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

PS. We are not yet fully funded for this initiative, but we feel so strongly that it is important and must happen NOW! Next week we will explain how we would like to fund this nationwide study, so stay tuned for how you can help on that front.


Announcing Nationwide Campaign for Pregnancy

First 100 women (12-17 weeks gestation) may sign up for our nationwide Protect our Children NOW! project


Three FREE blood tests,

FREE supplementation



Clear information on vitamin D and pregnancy  


Save the Children Report

State of the world's mothers 2015

Published by Save the Children Federation, Inc.

View Paper 

View web site 


Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy:  Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Safety and Effectiveness

Bruce Hollis, PhD

Carol Wagner, MD

Medical University South Carolina

Published June 2011

View Paper 

Order Your Home Vitamin D Test TODAY!
Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.
Rickets is only the tip of the iceberg
Handout to friends, community centers, doctors' offices
Pregnancy iceberg
Has information on how to sign up for the FREE Protect our Children NOW! project
Drop off in your local OB/GYN office
Story at-a-glance  


Your body's cells need the active form of vitamin D to gain access to the genetic blueprints stored inside them. This is why vitamin D has such a potent impact on such a wide variety of health problems

When pregnant, you need a vitamin D level above 50 ng/ml to protect yourself and your baby from serious complications, such as premature delivery and preeclampsia

Protect Our Children NOW! is a public health campaign aimed at raising global awareness about the health risks of vitamin D deficiency and provide information a woman can use to optimize her vitamin D status

Read Article

Video of the Week 


Vitamin D and Public Health Practice

Mary Pittaway, MA, RD

Missoula, Montana


Watch Now

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