Ongoing studies in the Middle East, particularly in the Arabian Gulf countries, have reported extremely low levels of serum vitamin D across age and gender. In Kuwait, vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in adolescent girls and in adult women. A number of risk factors have been reported, among which gender, age, and obesity are a few. Because adequate vitamin D status is necessary to promote bone mineral accrual in childhood, and because low vitamin D levels have been associated with a wide range of health problems, there is concern that growing children with low vitamin D may be at higher risk for developing diseases. The aim of this study was to assess vitamin D levels in elementary schoolchildren.
Kuwaiti schoolchildren were recruited and assessed for their serum vitamin D, 25(OH)D, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and adjusted serum calcium (adj-Ca). Anthropometric measurements and data on lifestyle and health status were recorded during an interview.
In a total of 199 schoolchildren, median (IQR) age was 8.5 (7.0–9.5 years), 25(OH)D was 30 (22–39 nmol/L), PTH was 4.7 (3.8–5.9 pmol/L), and adj-Ca was 2.39 (2.33–2.44 mmol/L). Boys had higher levels of 25(OH)D (18.3% vs 6.6% had levels ≥50 nmol/L) and lower levels of PTH (94.6% vs 80.2% had levels <7 pmol/L) than girls. Significant risk factors for 25(OH)D levels <25 nmol/L included being ≤8.5 years old (OR 4.95, 95% CI: 1.92–12.74), having PTH ≥7 pmol/L (OR 2.28, 95% CI: 1.17–4.46), being female (OR 2.44, 95% CI: 1.22–4.88), and being overweight or obese (OR 2.18, 95% CI: 1.11–4.26).
The results show relatively low levels of 25(OH)D in young schoolchildren in Kuwait, with lower levels in girls. Given the association of 25(OH)D with a wide range of ailments, it is necessary to further examine the causes and risk factors of low vitamin D in this age group to prevent associated health problems.
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- Vitamin D levels in schoolchildren: a cross-sectional study in Kuwait
Khulood Othman Alyahya
- BioMed Central
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