Vitamin D deficiency can cause serious health complications in both adult and children. Recent studies have shown a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in children worldwide. Despite the abundance of sunlight in the Middle East, many research groups have confirmed alarming rates of vitamin D deficiency in Middle Eastern population; however vitamin D status among Middle Eastern countries is rarely investigated.
For the first time, this study compared vitamin D levels in children (age 612) residing in Sulaimani city with children living in rural Kalar district of Iraqi Kurdistan.
In total of 770 healthy children residing in Sulaimani city and a Kalar district were recruited for this study. Each participant completed a questionnaire about their lifestyle, including socioeconomic background, sunlight exposure and nutritional habits. An electrochemiluminescence binding assay (ECLIA) was used to measure the non-fasting serum concentration of total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D). The difference between vitamin D status of Sulaimani city and Kalar district were compared using student T test for independent samples. A p value of less than 0.05 was considered significant.
The mean serum 25-(OH)D concentration in Sulaimani city children (14.8 ng/ml ±8.84, n=385) was close to vitamin D concentration of Kalar district children (16.12 ng/ml ±8.9, n=385), P=0.053. Of all the children in this study, 77.8% were severely vitamin D deficient (25(OH)D ≤ 20 ng/ml), and 11.8% were vitamin D insufficient (25[(OH)D=2129 ng/ml), whereas only 10.4% of the children were vitamin D sufficient (25[(OH)D Sufficient ≥30 ng/ml).
In conclusion, a high percentage of children residing in Sulaimani city and Kalar district had vitamin D deficiency; and there were no significant difference between vitamin D levels of urban inhabitants compared to rural areas. This result suggests that Kurdish children are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency complications. Screening for vitamin D deficiency should be performed in schools, and supplements should be prescribed for children with vitamin D deficiency. Public awareness campaigns are needed to improve vitamin D levels in children.
23 - 25 Nov 2016
British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes