Assessment of the vitamin D status and its determinants in young healthy students from Palestine

authored by
Janina Susann Lenz, Nathan Tintle, Felix Kerlikowsky, Manal Badrasawi, Rana Zahdeh, Radwan Qasrawi, Andreas Hahn, Jan Philipp Schuchardt

The global prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is high. Poor vitamin D status, especially in women, has been reported in several countries in the Middle East despite adequate year-round sunlight for vitamin D synthesis. However, data on vitamin D status in Palestine are scarce. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate vitamin D status based on serum concentrations of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol [25-(OH)D] among young healthy Palestinian students (18-27 years) and to assess associations between 25-(OH)D concentrations and several predictors. The mean 25-(OH)D concentration of women (n 151) was 27·2 ± 14·5 nmol/l, with the majority having insufficient (31·1%) or deficient (<60%) 25-(OH)D status. Only 7% of women achieved sufficient or optimal 25-(OH)D status. In contrast, men (n 52) had a mean 25-(OH)D concentration of 58·3 ± 14·5 nmol/l, with none classified as deficient, and most obtaining sufficient (55·8%) or even optimal 25-(OH)D status (11·5%). Among women, 98% wore a hijab and 74% regularly used sunscreen. Daily dietary vitamin D intake (3-d 24-h recalls) was 45·1 ± 36·1 IU in the total group (no sex differences). After adjustment, multiple linear regression models showed significant associations between 25-(OH)D concentrations and the use of supplements (B = 0·069; P = 0·020) and dietary vitamin D (B = 0·001; P = 0·028). In gender-stratified analysis, the association between supplement use and 25-(OH)D concentrations was significant in women (B = 0·076; P = 0·040). The vitamin D status of women in the present cohort is critical and appears to be mainly due to wearing a hijab, regular use of sunscreen and low dietary vitamin D intake. The vitamin D status of the women should be improved by taking vitamin D containing supplements or fortified foods.

Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Nutrition Physiology and Human Nutrition Section
External Organisation(s)
University of Illinois at Chicago
An-Najah National University
Palestine Polytechnic University (PPU)
Al-Quds University
Istinye University Istanbul
Journal of Nutritional Science
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Food Science, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Nutrition and Dietetics
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)