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70 pcnt of Saudi women were extremely vitamin D deficient, but only 40 pcnt of men – March 2012

Comparison of vitamin D deficiency in Saudi married couples.

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Mar 14. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.29.
Elshafie DE, Al-Khashan HI, Mishriky AM.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, Riyadh Military Hospital, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Background/objective:Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in Saudi Arabia.
The study objective was to compare vitamin D deficiency in Saudi married couples.

Subjects/methods:This cross-sectional study was carried out in the Royal Guard primary health care center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on a consecutive sample of 50 Saudi married couples attending the center without complaints related to vitamin D deficiency.

Data were collected through an interview questionnaire addressing the risk factors and dietary habits. Quantitative determination of total 25-hydroxy vitamin D in blood was done by Electro-Chemical Luminescence assay. Fieldwork was carried out from December 2010 to January 2011.

Results:Men had higher sun exposure (P=0.001), more use of light clothes at home (P=0.002) and more intake of milk (P=0.023) and soft drinks (P=0.001).

Vitamin D was higher in men with mean difference about 9?nmol/l (P<0.001). The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (<25?nmol/l) was 70% in women, compared with 40% in men (P=0.001). Multivariate analysis identified male gender, physical activity and the intake of milk as statistically significant positive independent predictors of vitamin D level, adjusted for factors as age, sun exposure, clothing, skin color, BMI, soft drinks and animal protein intake.

Conclusion:Vitamin D deficiency is very high among Saudi married couples, especially wives. Female gender is an independent predictor of lower vitamin D level, in addition to sedentary lifestyle and low milk consumption. There is a need to revise the levels set for the diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency in the study region.

PMID: 22415335


  • Women wear very concealing clothes in Saudi Arabia
  • They avoid going out during the hot (sunny) part of the day
  • This study was done during the winter
    Saudi Arabia has even lower levels of vitamin D in the summer
  • Study only looked at those who were NOT complaining about lack of vitamin D
  • 70% had < 10 nanograms of vitamin D

See also VitaminDWiki