This article gives an overview of the vitamin D status in Germany, provides evidence for an independent association of vitamin D deficiency with various chronic diseases, and discusses preventive measures for improving vitamin D status in Germany. The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency is 40-45% in the general German population. An additional 15-30% are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D can prevent falls and osteoporotic fractures in older people. There is also accumulating evidence that vitamin D may prevent excess mortality and may probably prevent some chronic diseases that occur in early life such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Adherence to present sun safety policy (avoidance of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm) and dietary recommendations (5-10 microg daily for adults) would, however, definitively lead to vitamin D deficiency. The estimated cost saving effect of improving vitamin D status in Germany might be up to 37.5 billion euro annually. It should be the goal of nutrition and medical societies to erase vitamin D deficiency in Germany within the next 5-10 years. To achieve this goal, the daily production of at least 25 microg of vitamin D in the skin or an equivalent oral intake should be guaranteed.