Nutrients 2012, 4(5), 399-412; doi:10.3390/nu4050399 (doi registration under processing)
Rani C. I. Ojah† and Jo M. Welch†,* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 3J5, Canada
Received: 20 April 2012; in revised form: 2 May 2012 / Accepted: 16 May 2012 / Published: 24 May 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin D)
Abstract: Bone and muscle weakness due to vitamin D deficiency is common among Muslim women who reside in sunny, equatorial countries. The purpose of this study was to determine if living in a northern maritime location additionally disadvantages women who wear concealing clothes. A cross-sectional matched pair design was used to compare women who habitually wore concealing clothing with women who dressed according to western norms. Each premenopausal hijab-wearing woman (n = 11) was matched by age, height, weight and skin tone with a western-dressed woman. Subjects were tested by hand grip dynamometry to assess muscular strength and by quantitative ultrasound at the calcaneus to assess bone status. Nutritional intake was obtained by 24 h recall. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (s-25(OH)D) status was determined in seven matched pairs.
The hijab group had lower s-25(OH)D than women who wore western clothes (40 ± 28 vs. 81 ± 32 nmol/L, p = 0.01).
Grip strength in the right hand was lower in the hijab-wearing women (p = 0.05) but this appeared to be due to less participation in intense exercise.
Bone status did not differ between groups (p = 0.9).
Dietary intake of vitamin D was lower in the hijab-wearers (316 ± 353 vs. 601 ± 341 IU/day, p = 0.001).
This pilot study suggests that women living in a northern maritime location appear to be at risk for vitamin D insufficiency and therefore should consider taking vitamin D supplements.
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