Kearney Leaderboard

Walgreens partners in vitamin D giveaways

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Walgreen Co., Aetna and the United Way are continuing their efforts to boost awareness of the need for adequate vitamin D intake, including giveaways of the essential vitamin this weekend.

During the May 30 Coca-Cola Family Fest at Columbia, S.C.’s Finlay Park, Walgreens, Aetna and the United Way of Midlands plan to give away more than 10,000, 100-day supplies of vitamin D. 

The program is an extension of the vitamin D giveaway program sponsored by Aetna, Walgreens and the United Way earlier this year. All told, the vitamin D awareness efforts will donate more than 25,000 samples.

"We are pleased to continue our participation in this program to drive awareness around a health concern that’s seldom discussed in many communities," Richard Ashworth, Walgreens market vice president, said in a statement. "Our goal is for more people to be informed that supporting a proper diet and healthy lifestyle with a vitamin D supplement is a simple step that can have long-term health benefits."

According to medical experts, vitamin D helps people absorb calcium, strengthening bones and teeth and helping nerves and muscles work correctly. Studies show that three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults don’t receive the amount of vitamin D experts believe is necessary for optimal health. This deficiency can weaken bone development, immune function and heart health.

"We’re very gratified to be part of such a positive health outreach effort," stated Mark Schmidt, president of Aetna’s operations in the Carolinas. "Working with Walgreens and the United Way of the Midlands, we’ve made significant progress in raising people’s awareness of the need for sufficient vitamin D intake."

Because vitamin D is absorbed from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, there also is a strong genetic and biological component involved. Darker skin blocks more of the sun’s rays, medical experts say, which is why African-Americans face the highest risk for vitamin D deficiency. Hispanics have similar risks.

"We’ve focused our outreach efforts in areas where we can make the biggest positive impact," added Schmidt. The vitamin D giveaway program has targeted Richland and Lexington counties, where the population is approximately 45% African-American.



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