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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 467-475

Deficiencies under plenty of sun: Vitamin D status among adults in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2013

1 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
2 Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ali H Mokdad
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation,University of Washington, 2301 5th Avenue, Suite 600, Seattle - 98121, Washington
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1947-2714.168675

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Background: Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with several diseases and injuries including diabetes, osteoporosis, fractures, and falls. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), current data on vitamin D status are lacking. Aims: To inform Saudi public health authorities on the current status of blood levels vitamin D deficiency, we analyzed data from the Saudi Health Interview Survey. Materials and Methods: The Saudi Health Interview Survey (SHIS) is a cross-sectional national multistage survey of individuals aged 15 years and above on sociodemographic characteristics, tobacco consumption, diet, physical activity, health care utilization, different health-related behaviors, and self-reported chronic conditions. A total of 10,735 participants completed a health questionnaire and were invited to the local health clinics for biomedical exams. Results: 62.65% of female Saudis and 40.6% of male Saudis aged 15 years and above are deficient in vitamin D. Out of them, less than 1% males and less than 2% females consume vitamin D supplements. Women who have never married and obese individuals are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, compared to men who were currently married and nonobese individuals. Those consuming vitamin D supplements are less likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Conclusions: Our study showed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Saudi men and women, and the results call for an increased awareness to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D for better health in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, our findings are certainly relevant for other countries in the Gulf region or countries with similar cultures, clothing, and religions.

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