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Vitamin D status and attitudes towards sun exposure in South Asian women living in Auckland, New Zealand

  • Pamela R von Hurst (a1), Welma Stonehouse (a1) and Jane Coad (a2)

Abstract

Objective

To determine the vitamin D status of women of South Asian origin living in Auckland, New Zealand, and to investigate their attitudes and behaviours with regard to sun exposure.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

Auckland, New Zealand.

Subjects

Women of South Asian origin (n 235) aged 20 years and older were tested for serum 25(OH)D, and 228 were included in these analyses. Of these, 140 completed a questionnaire about attitudes and behaviours to sun exposure, and health motivation. Exclusion criteria included high dose (>1000 IU/d) supplementation with 25(OH)D3, or any supplementation with 1,25(OH)2D3.

Results

As serum vitamin D concentrations were not normally distributed, data are reported as median (25th, 75th percentile). Median serum 25(OH)D3 was 27·5 (18·0, 41·0) nmol/l. Adequate concentrations (>50 nmol/l) were observed in only 16 % of the subjects. Concern about skin cancer and the strength of the New Zealand sun were the most prevalent reasons given for sun avoidance, with 65 % saying they did avoid the sun. However, a seasonal variation was observed, with concentrations reducing significantly (P < 0·001) from summer through to early spring by 19·5 nmol/l.

Conclusions

The results of the present study suggest that South Asian women are at high risk of hypovitaminosis D, due, in part, to deliberate sun avoidance and an indoor lifestyle, and that they are especially vulnerable in winter and spring.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email j.coad@massey.ac.nz

References

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