Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and its Association with Age, Sex and Ethnicity in Albaha, Saudi Arabia
Author(s): Abdulmajeed Abdulghani A Sindi*, Mohammad A Albanghali, Mohammad A Izhari, Saleh Alghamdi, Fayez S Alghamdi, Mohammed A Shanawaz, Raed A Alharbi, Abdullah S Alsulaiman, Osama Abdulaziz, Naseem Akhter
Hypovitaminosis D is a rising public health concern, rendering a billion people at risk of multiple health issues globally. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its association with age, sex and ethnicity in the population of Albaha, Saudi Arabia. A retrospective study was performed involving 10,070 subjects from Albaha. The demographics and laboratory results of the subjects were retrieved from hospital records. The mean age (SD) of all subjects was 39 ( ± 19). The mean vitamin D level (SD) of all Saudis was 24.7 ng/ml ( ± 14), while that of non-Saudis was 23.4 ng/ml ( ± 13). The mean ± SD vitamin D level of Saudi males or females was 25 ± 14 ng/ml, while the level of non-Saudi males (25 ± 13 ng/ml) and non-Saudi females was 23 ± 13 ng/ml. Of all subjects, 45.9% (n=4,624), 26.3% (n=2,645) and 27.8% (n=2,801) were vitamin D deficient, insufficient and sufficient, respectively. Regarding sex, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was slightly higher in females (males: 45.2%, females: 46.2%, OR=0.97, p=0.6), whereas females were less likely to be vitamin D insufficient (OR=0.88, p=0.038). Non-Saudi subjects (48.8%) showed higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (OR=1.26, p=0.04) compared to Saudi subjects (45.78%). In children (categorized as <2, 2–6, 7–11 and 12–18 years), vitamin D deficiency increased with age (9.6%, 14.7%, 37.6% and 54.0%, respectively). Children aged 2–6 years (OR=0.35, p=0.001) and <2 years were less likely to be vitamin D deficient than children aged 12–18 years. The incidence of vitamin D insufficiency also correlated with increasing age in children aged up to 7–11 years. However, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found to decrease with age in the adult groups [19–39 (57.3%), 40–59 (42.9%) and >60 (36%)]. A similar trend was observed in the male, female and Saudi age categories. Saudi’s aged between 19 and 39 years (OR=3.3, p<0.001) were more likely to be vitamin D deficient than those aged >60 years. Hypovitaminosis D in subjects from Albaha was found to be around 72%, with it being more prevalent in children aged 12–18, adults aged 19–39 and non-Saudis. Health education, regular health screening, vitamin D fortification by regular sun exposure and supplementation policy could be worthwhile to address vitamin D deficiency-related health problems, especially for high-risk groups.