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J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2001 Oct;10(8):765-70.

Vitamin D status and bone mineral density of veiled and unveiled Turkish women.

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  • 1Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Cukurova University School of Medicine, Adana, Turkey.


The aim of the study is to compare vitamin D status and bone mineral density (BMD) in veiled and unveiled healthy Turkish women of reproductive age. Thirty young to middle-aged volunteer veiled women and 30 age-matched control subjects with western clothing habits were enrolled in the study. The two groups had similar dietary habits, body mass index (BMI) distribution, and gestational history. Physical and laboratory examinations were performed to rule out any disease that could affect bone metabolism. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels were measured, and BMD of the spine and hip were investigated by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). The mean age of dressing the veil was 15.7 +/- 6.13 years, and 66.7% of the veiled women claimed that they were not ever exposed to direct sunlight, as they were leading an indoor life. Compared with the control group, veiled women were less educated and physically less active (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively). 25-OHD levels were positively correlated with exposure to sunlight and negatively correlated with the duration of being veiled. None of the veiled women had vitamin D insufficiency, but their mean 25-OHD concentration (33.1 +/- 16 ng/ml) was significantly lower than that of controls (53.9 +/- 27.3 ng/ml) (p < or = 0.001), and serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) levels were higher (p < 0.01). Differences in the absolute BMD values at the spine and hip were not statistically significant, but the mean Z value at the lumbar spine was significantly lower in the veiled subjects (p < 0.05). Veiled women have low 25-OHD status, and vitamin D supplementation should strictly be advised to these women for the prevention of osteomalacia and osteoporosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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