Journal of clinical research in pediatric endocrinology

Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and Calcium Homeostasis in Saudi Children.

PMID 27476528


Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) and vitamin D insufficiency (VDI) are significant health problems all over the world. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of VDD and VDI in children and adolescents residing in 8 provinces in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to also investigate calcium homeostasis in these subjects. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2110 participants aged between 6 and 15 years. Information on socio-demographic status, anthropometric measurements, knowledge about vitamin D, color of the skin, dietary intake, sun exposure experience, smoking, and physical activity were collected through a questionnaire given to the parents of all subjects. The subjects were divided into three groups as vitamin D deficient, vitamin D insufficient, and vitamin sufficient according to their blood level of vitamin D [VDD ≤25 nmol/L (25 hydroxy vitamin D), VDI >25-50 nmol/L, and VDS >50 nmol/L]. VDD was highly prevalent in this group of children. 95.3 of the subjects had either VDD (45.5%) or VDI (49.9%). The prevalence rate of VDD combined with VDI was higher in females (97.8%) compared to males (92.8%) (p<0.001). Only 1.6% had significant hypocalcaemia. Children with dark skin had lower concentrations of vitamin D and higher concentrations of parathormone. A positive correlation was observed between 25 hydroxy vitamin D level and serum calcium, inorganic phosphate, and alkaline phosphatase concentrations. onclusion: The results showed a high prevalence of VDD and VDI in Saudi children with significantly higher prevalence in girls. These findings necessitate the set-up of a national program for vitamin D supplementation and health education for this vulnerable group.