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Public Health Nutr. 2016 Feb;19(3):470-6. doi: 10.1017/S136898001500083X. Epub 2015 Apr 1.

Vitamin D status in pre-school children in rural Nepal.

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1Department of Community Medicine,Institute of Health and Society,University of Oslo,Postboks 1130,Blindern 0318 Oslo,Norway.
2Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research (SERAF),Institute of Clinical Medicine,University of Oslo,Oslo,Norway.
3Vitas Analytical Laboratory,Oslo Innovation Park,Oslo,Norway.



Vitamin D plays a major role in Ca and bone metabolism, and its extraskeletal functions are being appraised. Although inadequate vitamin D concentrations have been reported in populations worldwide, too little is known about vitamin D status and its determinants among children in developing countries. We aimed to determine vitamin D status and its determinants in Nepalese children of pre-school age.


A community-based, cross-sectional study.


Rural Nepal at latitude 27.39° N.


Healthy children (n 280) aged 12-60 months, selected randomly from the records of a vitamin A supplementation programme. Blood samples were collected using the dried blood spot technique and analysed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (s-25(OH)D) concentration using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Ca intake and background variables were assessed with a structured questionnaire.


Hypovitaminosis D, defined as s-25(OH)D concentration less than 50 nmol/l, was found in 91.1% of the children. S-25(OH)D concentration was not related to gender, socio-economic indicators, sun exposure or nutritional status. Currently breast-fed children had higher s-25(OH)D concentrations (36.4 (sd 13.2) nmol/l) than those who were not (28.6 (sd 9.8) nmol/l, P<0.001). Adjustment for sociodemographic factors did not alter the results.


There is widespread vitamin D deficiency among pre-school children in a rural area of Nepal. In our sample, sociodemographic factors did not affect the vitamin D status of children, but prolonged breast-feeding was associated with higher s-25(OH)D concentrations. Further research is required to investigate the health consequences of poor vitamin D status for this population.


25-Hydroxyvitamin D; Breast-feeding; Dried blood spots; Nepal; Nutritional status; Vitamin D status; Young children

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