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Saudi Med J. 2017 Apr;38(4):381-390. doi: 10.15537/smj.2017.4.18753.

Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its associated factors in three regions of Saudi Arabia.

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Department of Pathology, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. E-mail.



To measure prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Saudi Arabia, unveil the life style, nutritional habits and status, as well as identify the potential risk factors. Method: A school-based survey targeting Saudi school students and employees was conducted during the  period from 2013 to 2014 using multistage cluster random sample in Central, Western and Eastern regions. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and difference between various population subgroups were calculated. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the predictors of potential risk factors. Results: Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 49.5% in students and 44% in employees. Life style was not adequate to protect against vitamin D depletion. Unhealthy nutritional habits were widespread, some manifested in childhood while others manifested later in life. Living in the Eastern region, females, 16-19 years of age, low economic class, obese and lack of omega 3 supplements were risk factors in students. Employees living in the Eastern region, females, middle-income class, carbonated soft drink consumers, and lack of multivitamin supplements were at higher risk. Conclusion: There is a need for a health awareness program using evidence-based recommendations. Screening for early detection and correction of the condition should be proposed to be part of the national health strategy. There is need for identifying the burden of vitamin D deficiency on other diseases to control and improve the prognosis of these conditions.

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