Introduction: Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. Limited skin exposure to sunlight, obesity, and low dietary calcium intake may all impact vitamin D status and bone health. The aims of this study were to determine vitamin D status and its association with the extent of veiling and different measures of obesity and to examine the impact of milk intake on vitamin D status and bone metabolism markers in a sample of randomly selected pre- and postmenopausal healthy Saudi women.
Methods: A total of 449 women were studied. Fasting blood samples were collected for assessment of 25(OH)D status and carboxy-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX). Anthropometric parameters and total body fat (TBF) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry were measured. Milk intake was determined using a validated food frequency questionnaire.
Results: A total of 85.5 % of women had vitamin D deficiency with a serum level <50 nmol/L. Women who were completely covered (both face and hands or face only) (n = 261) were found to have a significantly lower 25(OH)D status than women who covered their heads, but not their faces and hands (n = 188) [26.5 ± 19.6 nmol/L vs. 32.0 ± 24.4 nmol/L], respectively (P < 0.011). A significant negative correlation between 25(OH)D and body mass index (BMI) (r = −0.203, P < 0.01), TBF (r = −0.340, P < 0.01), and waist circumference (WC) (r = 0.140, P < 0.05) was found in the postmenopausal women. A positive correlation was found between milk intake and 25(OH)D status, which remains significant after controlling for BMI and age (r = 0.193, P < 0.001). A trend for milk intake to be negatively associated with CTX excretion was also observed (r = −.083, P ≤ 0.07) after adjustment for age and BMI.
Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency is rather highly prevalent among healthy Saudi women. Further investigations are currently under way to explore concomitant effects of these factors on bone density in this population.
Saudi women Vitamin D Veiling Milk intake Deficiency Obesity
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I am grateful to my supervisors for their tremendous effort and valuable comments. I would like to thank all the subjects who participated in the present study, all the staff at CEOR, King Abdulaziz University, and the primary health care centers for their invaluable assistance during the execution of the present study.
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