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BMJ Open. 2015 Nov 30;5(11):e009140. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009140.

Vitamin D status and associated metabolic risk factors among North Korean refugees in South Korea: a cross-sectional study.

Author information

1
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
2
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Vitamin D deficiency is now recognised as a common health problem associated with various chronic diseases; however, it has not been fully elucidated among the minority groups. Here, we aimed to investigate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its associated metabolic risk factors among North Korean refugees living in South Korea.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional analysis from the longitudinal cohort, the North Korean refugee health in South Korea (NORNS) study.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 386 North Korean refugees aged ≥30 years, who measured serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) level.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D <20 ng/mL) was 87% and no participants had an adequate vitamin D level (25(OH)D ≥30 ng/mL). Underweight participants (body mass index (BMI) <18 kg/m(2)) had significantly lower 25(OH)D levels than individuals with normal BMI (≥18.5 and<23 kg/m(2)). In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the lowest 25(OH)D level (<10 ng/mL) was significantly associated with metabolic syndrome (OR, 6.37, 95% CI 1.34 to 30.3), high triglyceride (OR, 6.71, 95% CI 1.75 to 25.7), and low high-density lipoprotein (OR, 5.98, 95% CI 1.54 to 23.2) compared with 25(OH)D levels ≥20 ng/mL after adjusting for age, sex, season, length of residence in South Korea, physical activity and BMI.

CONCLUSIONS:

Vitamin D deficiency is very common among North Korean refugees in South Korea. Despite their lower BMI, vitamin D deficiency was associated with metabolic syndrome in this population.

KEYWORDS:

Metabolic syndrome; North Korean refugees; Obesity; Vitamin D deficiency; vitamin D

PMID:
26621518
PMCID:
PMC4679844
DOI:
10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009140
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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