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Logo of bmcpediBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Pediatrics
 
BMC Pediatr. 2012; 12: 92.
Published online Jul 3, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2431-12-92
PMCID: PMC3407533
Effect of physical activity and sun exposure on vitamin D status of Saudi children and adolescents
Abdulaziz Al-Othman,1,2 Sara Al-Musharaf,3 Nasser M Al-Daghri,corresponding author1,4,5,10 Soundararajan Krishnaswamy,4 Deqa S Yusuf,1 Khalid M Alkharfy,1,6 Yousef Al-Saleh,1,7 Omar S Al-Attas,1,4,5 Majed S Alokail,1,4,5 Osama Moharram,8 Shaun Sabico,4 and George P Chrousos4,9
1Prince Mutaib Chair for Biomarkers of Osteoporosis, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3College of Science, King Saud University Women's Section, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
4Biomarkers Research Program, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
5Center of Excellence in Biotechnology Research, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
6Clinical Pharmacy Department, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
7College of Medicine, King Saud University of Health Sciences, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
8King Abdulaziz University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
9First Department of Pediatrics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, 11527, Greece
10Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, PO Box, 2455, Riyadh, 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Abdulaziz Al-Othman: amothman/at/ksu.edu.sa; Sara Al-Musharaf: sara.almosharruf/at/gmail.com; Nasser M Al-Daghri: aldaghri2011/at/gmail.com; Soundararajan Krishnaswamy: ksounder/at/gmail.com; Deqa S Yusuf: markeezaso12/at/live.co.uk; Khalid M Alkharfy: alkharfy/at/ksu.edu.sa; Yousef Al-Saleh: alaslawi/at/hotmail.com; Omar S Al-Attas: omrattas/at/ksu.edu.sa; Majed S Alokail: msa85/at/yahoo.co.uk; Osama Moharram: srosamamoharram/at/yahoo.com; Shaun Sabico: eaglescout01/at/yahoo.com; George P Chrousos: chrousos/at/gmail.com
Received February 21, 2012; Accepted July 3, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Accumulating evidence suggests an increased prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the Middle East. In this context, we aimed to determine whether the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is related to degree of physical activity and sun exposure among apparently healthy Saudi children and adolescents, a little studied population.
Methods
A total of 331 Saudi children aged 6–17 years (153 boys and 178 girls) were included in this cross sectional study. Levels of physical activity and sun exposure were determined using a standard questionnaire. Anthropometry, serum calcium and 25-(OH) vitamin D were analyzed.
Results
All subjects were vitamin D deficient, the majority being moderately deficient (71.6%). Age was the single most significant predictor affecting 25 (OH) Vitamin D levels, explaining 21% of the variance perceived (p = 1.68 x 10-14). Age-matched comparisons revealed that for groups having the same amount of sun exposure, those with moderate or are physically active will have higher levels of vitamin D status, though levels in across groups remained deficient.
Conclusion
Vitamin D deficiency is common among Saudi children and adolescents, and is influenced by both sun exposure and physical activity. Promotion of an active outdoor lifestyle among Saudi children in both homes and schools may counteract the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in this vulnerable population. Vitamin D supplementation is suggested in all groups, including those with the highest sun exposure and physical activity.
Keywords: Vitamin D, Saudi children
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