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Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jan 1;4(1):39-43. doi: 10.4161/derm.18250.

Vitamin D and calcium status in urban children attending an ambulatory clinic service in the United Arab Emirates.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Maintaining a normal vitamin D status is important for both skeletal and extra-skeletal health. Recent data show that vitamin D deficiency is endemic in women residing in the Arabian Gulf and is common in pregnant women and their newborns. The purpose of this study was to establish the vitamin D and calcium status of children in an urban ambulatory pediatric clinic in Abu Dhabi to determine for the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in this cohort.

METHODS:

Patients were recruited prospectively from the pediatric outpatient clinic visits, if they were having blood taken for laboratory investigations other than those related to vitamin D and calcium status. The vitamin D status was compared between 4 age groups (0-0.9 y, 1-1.9 y, 2-7.9 y and 8 -14 y) using the following definitions: deficiency < 25 nmol/l, insufficiency 25-50 nmol/l and sufficiency > 50 nmol/l.

RESULTS:

A total of 183 children were included in the study. The percentage of females and males in the deficient range was 21% and 16% respectively, while 32% and 46% of females and males respectively were vitamin D sufficient. The highest prevalence of vitamin D deficiency occurred in the 8-14 y old age group with 31.2% being deficient.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study highlights that in an ambulatory pediatric clinic population, peri-pubescent children are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency. This age group is often not considered in the discussion for the need for vitamin D supplementation. Serious consideration should be given to including vitamin D supplementation in a school public health program in the UAE.

KEYWORDS:

ambulatory; calcium status; children; rickets; vitamin D deficiency

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