The sunshine under our skin: public knowledge and practices about vitamin D deficiency in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

Abstract

Summary

This cross-sectional study among members of public showed that people generally had good knowledge and awareness about vitamin D. However, inconsistencies between awareness and attitudes were observed. Our findings reinforce the need of educating people to improve attitude and practices toward vitamin D consumption.

Introduction

Owing to its hot and dry climate, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the top ranked vitamin D deficient countries. However, little is known about people’s awareness surrounding this topic.

Methods

A descriptive cross-sectional survey to assess people’s knowledge, awareness, and attitude toward vitamin D deficiency was conducted in Al Ain city of UAE. A 25-item validated self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Differences among demographic groups were analyzed using chi-square test, and simple binary logistic regressions were used to investigate the association between vitamin D awareness and other significant risk factors.

Results

More than 90% of the total 346 participants showed awareness toward vitamin D and its deficiency. Doctors were reported as the most common source of information. More than one-third of the participants claimed to have vitamin D deficiency with significantly more females than males. More than 70% of the sample considered sunlight as the best source of vitamin D and avoiding going out in sun as the major risk for vitamin D deficiency. Nearly half (43%) of the participants did not consume milk and only 24% claimed to be using vitamin D supplements. Females were found to be applying sunscreen and consuming vitamin supplements significantly more than their male counterparts. Participants aged 24–35 years, having bachelor degree and those who were tested for vitamin D, were found to score better for awareness questions.

Conclusions

Our findings demonstrate a mismatch between knowledge and awareness, and attitude implying the need of educating people to improve their attitude toward consuming vitamin D rich food and supplements.

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Correspondence to Mudassir Anwar.

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Ethical approval was received from Al Ain University of Science and Technology (Reference: AAUCOP233/17).

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Anwar, M., El-Dahiyat, F., Jairoun, A. et al. The sunshine under our skin: public knowledge and practices about vitamin D deficiency in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Arch Osteoporos 14, 111 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11657-019-0671-5

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Keywords

  • Vitamin D
  • Awareness
  • Attitude
  • Public
  • United Arab Emirates