Nichols EK, Khatib IM, Aburto NJ, Serdula MK, Scanlon KS, Wirth JP, Sullivan KM

September 2014 – European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Vitamin D deficiency in children remains a global concern. Although literature exists on the vitamin D status and its risk factors among children in the Middle East, findings have yielded mixed results, and large, representative community studies are lacking. In a nationally representative survey of 1077 Jordanian children of preschool age (12-59 months) in Spring 2010, we measured 25(OH)D3 concentrations by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and calculated prevalence ratios for deficiency associated with various factors. Results showed 19.8% deficiency (<12 ng/ml) and 56.5% insufficiency (<20 ng/ml). In adjusted models, prevalence of deficiency was higher for females compared with males and lower for children 24-35 months of age compared with children 12-23 months of age. In rural areas, there was no difference in prevalence of vitamin D deficiency between those whose mothers had/did not have vitamin D deficiency (P=0.312); however, in urban areas, prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 3.18 times greater among those whose mothers were vitamin D deficient compared with those whose mothers were not deficient (P=0.000). Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency pose significant public health problems in Jordanian children with female children disproportionately affected. Strong associations between vitamin D status in children and urban residency and maternal vitamin D status suggest that the behaviors related to sun exposure in urban mothers likely also affect the sun exposure and thus vitamin D status of their children.

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