Onward Transitions Members Soak Up Vitamin D in Northern New England
The winter months in Northern New England are affiliated with a number of outdoor sports and activities. From alpine and nordic skiing to skating and ice fishing, taking in fresh air and sunshine can be as easy as dressing right and walking out the door.
Onward Transitions for emerging adults in Portland, ME is employing a number of approaches to helping its members keep their Vitamin D levels up until spring, and longer days, arrive in the near future.
- Planning outdoor activities with members including skating, skiing, and snow tubing.
- Making conscious decisions about meals served to the community that includes Vitamin D-rich options like eggs, salmon, mushrooms, red meat, fortified milk, and plant-based milk.
- Dining and snacking outside, tailgate-style, at the Pine House around a propane fire pit.
- Encouraging members to take advantage of the Pine House’s southerly-facing “solarium” windowed hallway for 30-minute bursts.
Lower levels of Vitamin D are associated with “various measures of psychosocial stress and poorer mental health in… young adults” (Chen, et. al., 2020), and past studies have shown that as many as 77% of Americans have a Vitamin D deficiency (Ginde, Liu, and Camargo, 2009). Onward’s members are well-aware of these challenges and work individually and together to better manage these challenges. “Working hard, and playing hard, together as a community can be incredibly beneficial to all of us. Particularly in the winter months when we can be sluggish and need some support in getting going and getting outside,” said Lead Clinician Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC.
Chen, L., Zhu, H., Harshfield, G. A., Treiber, F. A., Pollock, J. S., Pollock, D., Okereke, O. I., Su, S., & Dong, Y. (2020). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are associated with mental health and psychosocial stress in young adults. Nutrients, 12(7), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071938.
Ginde, A. A., Liu, M. C., & Camargo, C. A. (2009). Demographic differences and trends of vitamin D insufficiency in the US population, 1988-2004. Archives of Internal Medicine (1960), 169(6), 626-632. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2008.604
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions (OT) in Portland, ME is a small, independent, owner-operated program for bright, motivated, emerging adults in the final stages of learning to live on their own. OT supports actual sustainable independent living and autonomy from two city locations. Participants (members) ages 18-29 never live with us; they live in their own apartments, scattered throughout the city. Members’ challenges include anxiety, depression, and executive functioning.