While overt vitamin deficiency diseases such as scurvy or pellagra are uncommon in people who consume a typical diet in developed countries, less obvious deficiencies also occur in wealthy societies. Often, large population groups ignore the true quality of nutrition or the consequences of their lifestyle choices. Such hidden deficiencies, mainly caused by diets lacking sufficient micronutrients, can lead to serious health problems over time.
Some population groups are at higher risk of vitamin deficiency than others. Typical groups at risk for inadequate vitamin supply are:
- women of childbearing age
- pregnant or breast-feeding women
- children/teenagers with irregular eating habits
- older people
- people avoiding certain food groups
- people with eating disorders or medical conditions
- people who regularly eat processed and fast food.