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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(1):81-7.

Hypovitaminosis D is common in both veiled and nonveiled Bangladeshi women.

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Division of Nutrition, Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


The present cross-sectional study was designed to evaluate the vitamin D status in three groups of women in Bangladesh by using serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (S-25-OHD), alkaline phosphatase (S-ALP), calcium (S-Ca) and phosphate (S-P). Sampling was undertaken at three locations in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Representative subjects of three groups of women aged 18-60 years were studied. Study subjects included nonveiled young women = group A (N = 36, mean+/- SD age 22.3 +/- 1.9 years), veiled women =group B (N = 30, mean+/- SD age 47.7+/- 9.4 years) and nonveiled diabetic women = group C (N = 55, mean +/- SD age 50.2 +/- 5.9 years). The mean value of S-25-OHD was not significantly different in the groups. The distribution of S-25-OHD concentration in all groups was shifted overall toward the lower limit of the normal range. Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-OHD level <25 nmol/l) was detected in 39% of young women (university students), 30% in veiled women and 38% in diabetic women, respectively. Vitamin D insufficiency defined as serum 25-OHD concentration <40 nmol/l was detected in 78% of group A, 83% in group B and 76% in group C, respectively. As indicated, prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was a bit higher in group B compared with the other groups studied although it was not statistically significant (P > 0.05). In the present study, there were several independent predictors of serum 25-OHD, i.e. both increasing parity (r = 0.286; P < 0.005) and increasing time spent outdoors (r = 0.515; P < 0.001) were associated with significant increase in serum 25-OHD. A strongly significant inverse correlation between serum ALP and 25-OHD (r = -0.303;P<0.001) was observed. The results showed that women in Bangladesh, regardless of different age-groups, lifestyle and clothing, were at risk of developing hypovitaminosis D. The results emphasize the appropriate health message for vitamin D needs in Bangladeshi women, since vitamin D insufficiency significantly affects bone integrity.

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