One thing unites us no matter where we live or how much money we make, and that's a desire to be both happy and healthy.
What's cool about that is, no matter your age, background, or the region where we reside, we all need many of the same vitamins. And how exciting is it knowing you can do your part to make sure others — and you — get what we need to reach optimum health?
Click on any of the photos above to learn about the unique vitamin needs of boys, girls, women, and men all over the world. Though they may differ, we can each learn how we can work toward our individual and common goal of living happy and healthy lives.
Rosalinda, who lives in Guatemala, is a 14-month-old toddler with a smile full of life and vivacity. But that's because her mother, Odelia, makes sure Rosalinda eats nutritiously and stays happy — with some help from the multivitamins she takes every day.
As a mother, Odelia's priority is her children's health. She and Rosalinda made the trek to the health center one day so that the toddler could receive multivitamins with vitamins A and D from Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit that distributes vitamins and minerals to children and mothers in need.
Even though going to the health center meant Odelia, who financially supports her family, had to sacrifice selling produce at the local market that day, she did it to make sure her children had the right vitamins to grow up happy and healthy.
Because parts of Guatemala are vulnerable to environmental factors — such as deforestation and drought, as well as fragile agricultural policies — many people can't grow or easily access nutritious food. The added issue of poverty in the country's rural areas also means that many Guatemalans simply cannot afford to buy food that fulfills their nutritional requirements, let alone their entire family's.
Rosalinda takes vitamin D, which is essential to her growth and development.
Although many think that soaking up the sun gives the body enough vitamin D, most of the time, it doesn't.
Vitamin D helps ensure that children's bodies absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, two crucial elements that aid bone development. A lack of this vitamin in the first two years of a child's life can lead to rickets, a disease of softening bones that can manifest in children as bowed legs, delayed growth, and projected breastbones.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants, children, and adolescents take 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily — which is the equivalent of about three or four 8-ounce servings of vitamin D-fortified orange juice or milk, according to the National Institutes of Health. Parents should seek the help of physicians to choose the appropriate vitamin supplements for their child.
Rosalinda is not the only person who needs vitamin D. Forty-year-old Craig and 26-year-old John from New York also need it. Click on Craig and John's photos, highlighted in red, to find out how they are connected by their vitamin need, or explore the rest of the profiles below.
Want to help people around the world get access to vitamins? For every purchase of vitamins and minerals at Walgreens, they will make a donation to Vitamin Angels.
Statements about vitamin deficiencies, the benefits of vitamin D and recommended doses are not endorsed by or representative of opinions from Vitamin Angels.
Vitamin Angels Photos © Matt Dayka/Vitamin Angels