ESPE Abstracts (2014) 82 P-D-1-2-44

Vitamin D Deficiency: a National Threat to Adolescent Health in Saudi Arabia

Mohammed Al Dubayeea,b, Fadia Albuhairana,b, Ibrahim Alalwana,b, Suleiman Al Shahric, Hani Tamimb, Mohieldin Magzoubb, Walid Al Tamima,b & Nasreldin Ahmedb


aKing Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; bKing Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; cMinistry of Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Background: Vitamin D has a key physiological role in many metabolic process and neuromuscular activities. The peak bone mass accrual occurred during adolescence, where about 51% of bone mass is gained during puberty and about 37% of the bone mineral density (BMD) of adults is reached. Vitamin D deficiency has long-term negative implications including increased risk of osteomalacia and osteoporosis. Severe hypovitaminosis D appears to be most common in the Middle East and African, where the highest rates of rickets worldwide are recorded.

Objective and hypotheses: To determine the national and regional prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among adolescents in Saudi Arabia and to identify the factors associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Method: This is part of the national study on adolescents ‘JEELUNA’. School-based cross-sectional study was conducted in all regions of Saudi Arabia. Multistage, stratified, clustered random sampling was carried out to select intermediate and secondary male and female schools. Self-administered questionnaire addressing socio-demographic information and lifestyle behaviors including health risk behaviors was taken. Anthropometric measurements were obtained and blood samples were collected to determine serum 25-OH vitamin D levels for students.

Results: A total of 12 584 students participated in the study 54% were male and 53% were in secondary school. 4843 had their blood sampled for vitamin D levels; 95% had vitamin D deficiency (25-OH Vit D < 50 nmol/l). Females are 7.4 times as likely as males to experience vitamin D deficient (P<0.0001). School exercise decrease the chance of vitamin D deficiency by 72% (P<0.0001). Missing breakfast increased the chance of vitamin D deficiency by 74% (P=0.01). Physically inactive adolescents are twice as likely as active adolescents to have vitamin D deficiency (P<0.0001).

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency is major public health concern. Public health approaches and health policy are needed to optimize adolescent health.

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