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Survey Reveals ‘Vitamin D-Ficient’ Cities of NZ

Special K Reveals The ‘Vitamin D-Ficient’ Cities of NZ

Palmerston North, Invercargill and Dunedin are New Zealand’s most sunshine deprived centres
New Special K cereals with Vitamin D offers a way to help boost Vitamin D levels among Kiwis

Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday 6 December: Special K has today revealed the ‘Sunshine Index of New Zealand’ that highlights which cities have seen the sun shining bright and which have been more in the shadows during the past year.

NIWA’s research shows that Palmerston North, Invercargill and Dunedin have been the most sunshine deprived cities with just 1,645, 1,762 and 1,824 hours of sunshine compared to the country’s sunniest city, Blenheim (2,582 hours)1. This means the good people of Invercargill are getting up to 68 fewer days2 of sunshine, compared to their northern neighbours in Marlborough.

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin – while there’s many factors that can affect Vitamin D levels, where you live geographically (and the amount of sunshine you get) is just one of them.

Kellogg’s examined the research as part of the launch of its new Special K recipe, making it the first breakfast cereal range in New Zealand to be fortified with Vitamin D – a nutrient that is integral to the development of strong bones, teeth and good muscle function.

Data from the Ministry of Health shows one in four New Zealand women (28.5%) are falling below the recommended levels of Vitamin D3. An alternative source in the form of a breakfast cereal could provide a much-needed Vitamin D boost.

“We have strengthened our Special K cereals with Vitamin D to help encourage more Kiwis to achieve their recommended daily intake,” says Kate Hammond, Special K brand manager. “Special K Original now provides 25% of the daily intake of Vitamin D that women need.”

New Zealand Nutrition Foundation dietitian Sarah Hanrahan says Vitamin D is particularly important for supporting and maintaining strong bones and a healthy immune system.

“Our bodies make Vitamin D when sunshine lands on our skin, so you would expect a sunny place like New Zealand would not have a problem with getting enough Vitamin D. However, we are also sun-smart, so we cover up, use sunscreen and stay out of the sun.”

“In days gone by, cod liver oil has been a common source of Vitamin D for many horrified children and adults alike. Now fortunately we have alternatives like food fortified with Vitamin D, which can be a good and much better tasting choice if you aren’t getting enough,” says Hanrahan.

Silver Fern netballer and fellow Southlander Shannon Francois says the fortified breakfast cereal will be handy for people that don’t have the opportunity to get out in the sun.

“I love Special K because as a netballer, I spend a lot of time indoors either training on the court or in the gym, so it can be a challenge to get my Vitamin D,” says Francois. “It’s super quick and simple now that I can get a bit more from my morning bowl of Special K.”

Special K’s offering of Vitamin D, iron, protein, B-vitamins, calcium, folate and fibre in its cereal range* can help assist women across New Zealand with their nutrient needs.

Join the conversation on Instagram @SpecialKNewZealand using the hashtag #StayStrong, and check out


Editors’ notes

Bottom five sunny cities
Palmerston North (1,645 hours)
Invercargill (1,762)
Dunedin (1,824)
Hamilton (1,835)
Greymouth (1,922)

Top five sunny cities
Blenheim (2,582)
New Plymouth (2,503)
Nelson (2,483)
Whakatane (2,473)
Gisborne (2,371)

1 2016 sunshine hours - Findings based on main urban and secondary urban areas. Excludes minor urban areas.

2 Based on an average of 12 sunshine hours in one day

3 Ministry of Health. 2012. Vitamin D Status of New Zealand Adults: Findings from the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.


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