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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-25

Vitamin D deficiency among Syrian elderly living in nursing homes

Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Kalamoon, Deir attyah, Damascus, Syria

Correspondence Address:
Louay Labban
P. O. Box 30440, Damascus
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-019X.123440

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Background: There have been several studies in many parts of the world with regard to the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. These studies showed high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in vulnerable groups such as elderly and maybe associated with many adverse health outcomes. There are no data on the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its influencing factors in elderly population in Damascus. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Syrian elderly living in nursing homes. Materials and Methods: Two hundred and ten elderly (110 males and 100 females) participated in this study; their ages ranged from 65-92 years and were randomly selected from two nursing homes in Damascus. 25-hydroxy vitamin D serum levels were measured; fat percentage and BMI were identified in addition to their dietary habits such as their calcium intake, vegetables intake, and dairy products intake. The durations of their exposure to sun and their physical status were also indentified. Results: 169 elderly residents (80.5%) were vitamin D deficient. Their serum 25(OH) D level was: S15 ng/mL [: S37.5 nmol/L]. Using a cut-off level of 25(OH) D of: S20 ng/ml [: S50 nmol/l] 29 participants or (13.8%) were vitamin D insufficient. Overall 198 (94.3%) of study participants were either vitamin D deficient or/and insufficient. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency varied between men (75.6%) and women (86%). It has been found that serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D concentrations were lower in females than in males but body mass index (BMI) did not correlate with vitamin D values contrary to fat percentage. Consumption of dairy products, vegetables, calcium and supplements increased serum levels in addition to sun exposure and physical status as well. Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were highly prevalent in elderly, and more common in women.

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