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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2016

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with high prevalence of diabetes in Kuwaiti adults: results from a national survey

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2016
Fang Fang Zhang, Suad Al Hooti, Sameer Al Zenki, Husam Alomirah, Kazi M Jamil, Aravinda Rao, Nasser Al Jahmah, Edward Saltzman, Lynne M. Ausman
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12889-016-2758-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors have no conflict of interests to disclose.

Authors’ contributions

FFZ, LA, and ES designed this research; SAH, SAZ, HA, KMJ, AR, and NAJ designed and conducted the original survey; FFZ analyzed data and wrote the paper; SAH, SAZ, HA, KMJ, AR, NAJ, LA, and ES critically reviewed and revised the paper. FFZ had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Vitamin D homeostasis may play a critical role in glucose metabolism. Little is known on vitamin D deficiency and its association with diabetes in countries of the Arabia Gulf where the population is experiencing a rapid increase in the incidence of diabetes.


In a cross-sectional study of 960 adults enrolled in the first National Nutrition Survey of the State of Kuwait (NNSSK), we examined vitamin D status in association with the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes. Vitamin D status was measured by serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D). Prevalences of diabetes and prediabetes were determined based on fasting glucose and HbA1C levels.


The median level of serum 25(OH)D in Kuwaiti adults was 13.8 ng/ml. Approximately 56 % of the Kuwaiti adults had vitamin D inadequacy (25(OH)D = 12–19.9 ng/ml), and 27 % had vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 12 ng/ml). The prevalences of prediabetes and diabetes were 40 and 27 %, respectively. Vitamin D inadequacy (OR = 1.7, 95 % CI: 1.0–2.9) and deficiency (OR =2.0, 95 % CI: 1.1–3.3) was each associated with about two-fold increased odds of prediabetes compared to sufficient vitamin D status (25(OH)D ≥20 ng/ml). Vitamin D inadequacy (OR =2.1, 95 % CI: 1.2–3.7) and deficiency (OR =2.0, 95 % CI: 1.1–3.9) were also associated with two-fold increased odds of diabetes.


Data from Kuwaiti’s first national nutritional survey suggests a very high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Kuwaiti adults. Associations of low vitamin D status and high prevalence of diabetes point to the need of continuous monitoring of vitamin D status and further evaluating potential health consequences in this high-risk population.
Additional file 1: Table S1. Prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and deficiency by diabetes status in Kuwaiti adults, NNSSK 2008-2009. Table S2. Associations between vitamin D and diabetes by weight status, dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and use of calcium supplement in Kuwaiti adults, NNSSK 2008-2009. (DOCX 22 kb)
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