Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant Arab women requires urgent attention

May 3, 2010

Pregnant Arab women have an "extraordinarily high prevalence" of vitamin D deficiency - a potential health issue for them and their babies, according to a new Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study.

The vitamin deficiency is largely due to how Arab dress outdoors - preventing exposure of the skin to sunlight and subsequent vitamin D intake, according to Adekunle Dawodu, M.D., a physician in the Center for Global Child Health at Cincinnati Children's and lead author of the study.

"Vitamin D deficiency is common in Arab women, and its deficiency in pregnancy is detrimental to the health of both mother and child," he says. "The problem can be addressed by either vitamin D supplementation or having expectant mothers expose their skin modestly to sunlight in private, such as the privacy of their own courtyards."

Dr. Dawodu will present his study at 4 p.m. ET Saturday, May 1, at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver, Canada.

"Vitamin D deficiency is the major cause of rickets around the world, but rickets may be just the tip of the iceberg," says Dr. Dawodu. "Increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems - not just those involving calcium and bone. It also may increase the risk of and chronic diseases after birth and later in life."

Dr. Dawodu studied vitamin D status in 105 expectant Arab mothers participating in a prenatal, vitamin D supplementation study in the United Arab Emirates. Blood samples were taken at different times of the year. Dr. Dawodu found no seasonal variation in the rate of .

Blood vitamin D levels in adults of less than 50 nanomoles per liter are considered deficient. In this study, 76 percent of the women had blood vitamin D levels below 25 nanomoles per liter - an amount considered very low by any standard. In addition, these pregnant women had low levels of dietary vitamin D intake and low rates of sun exposure outdoors.

" supplementation and modest sun exposure require urgent attention," says Dr. Dawodu.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

No evidence that widely marketed technique to treat leaky bladder/prolapse works

October 16, 2017
There is no scientific evidence that a workout widely marketed to manage the symptoms of a leaky bladder and/or womb prolapse actually works, conclude experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Ten pence restaurant chain levy on sugary drinks linked to fall in sales

October 16, 2017
The introduction of a 10 pence levy on sugar sweetened drinks across the 'Jamie's Italian' chain of restaurants in the UK was associated with a relatively large fall in sales of these beverages of between 9 and 11 per cent, ...

New exercises help athletes manage dangerous breathing disorder

October 16, 2017
A novel set of breathing techniques developed at National Jewish Health help athletes overcome vocal cord dysfunction and improve performance during high-intensity exercise. Vocal cord dysfunction, now also referred to as ...

Learning and staying in shape key to longer lifespan, study finds

October 13, 2017
People who are overweight cut their life expectancy by two months for every extra kilogramme of weight they carry, research suggests.

Blueberries may improve attention in children following double-blind trial

October 13, 2017
Primary school children could show better attention by consuming flavonoid-rich blueberries, following a study conducted by the University of Reading.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.