Severe vitamin D deficiency in Arab-American women living in Dearborn, Michigan.

Raymond D. Hobbs, Zeina Habib, Dalal Alromaihi, Leila Idi, Nayana Parikh, Frank Blocki, D. Sudhaker Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and degree of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency in a group of Arab-American women in the largest, most-concentrated Arab-American settlement in the United States and to search for correlations with dress, diet, and use of vitamin D-fortified foods and vitamin supplements. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, Arab-American women, 18 years and older, who attended an ethnic market on April 7 or 14, 2007, were recruited. Participants were interviewed by bilingual English- and Arabic-speaking investigators using a semi-structured interview to assess dress; demographic variables; medical history; medication use; clinical symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency (eg, joint or bone pain, muscle weakness); and dietary intake of vitamin D from fortified orange juice, milk, and vitamin supplementation. Blood samples were drawn to measure concentrations of serum calcium, creatinine, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, parathyroid hormone, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Participants were initially divided into 2 groups based on whether the woman was veiled and further subdivided into 3 groups on the basis of vitamin D intake from supplemented food sources (milk or vitamin D-fortified orange juice) and vitamin pills: unveiled, veiled and taking supplements, and veiled and taking no supplements. RESULTS: Eighty-seven women participated. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were uniformly low, with the highest levels in the unveiled group (median [interquartile range]) (8.5 ng/mL [5.75-13.5 ng/mL]) followed by the veiled, supplemented group (7 ng/mL [4-11.5 ng/mL]) and the veiled, unsupplemented group (4 ng/mL [2-6.8 ng/mL]). 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels were lower in women with less experience in the United States and in those with less education. Vitamin D-fortified orange juice consumption had a greater positive predictive effect on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels than either milk or vitamin pills and may possibly serve as a surrogate marker for vitamin D awareness. CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D deficiency, as assessed by 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, is endemic in a sample of Arab-American women living in Dearborn, Michigan. These findings potentially identify an important health problem in the largest, most-concentrated Arab-American population in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


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