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To compare the contributions of UVB exposure and diet to total vitamin D among Asians living in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Aberdeen (AB).
UVB exposure (using polysulfone film badges) and skin colour and dietary vitamin D intake (by web-based questionnaire) were measured at each season in AB and during south-west (SWM) and north-east monsoons (NEM) in KL.
One hundred and fifteen Asians in KL and eighty-five Asians in AB aged 20–50 years.
Median summer UVB exposure of Asians in AB (0·25 SED/d) was higher than UVB exposure for the KL participants (SWM=0·20 SED/d, P=0·02; NEM= 0·14 SED/d, P<0·01). UVB exposure was the major source of vitamin D in KL year-round (60%) but only during summer in AB (59%). Median dietary vitamin D intake was higher in AB (3·50 µg/d (140 IU/d)), year-round, than in KL (SWM=2·05 µg/d (82 IU/d); NEM=1·83 µg/d (73 IU/d), P<0·01). Median total vitamin D (UVB plus diet) was higher in AB only during summer (8·45 µg/d (338 IU/d)) compared with KL (SWM=6·03 µg/d (241 IU/d), P=0·04; NEM=5·35 µg/d (214 IU/d), P<0·01), with a comparable intake across the full year (AB=5·75 µg/d (230 IU/d); KL=6·15 µg/d (246 IU/d), P=0·78).
UVB exposure among Asians in their home country is low. For Asians residing at the northerly latitude of Scotland, acquiring vitamin D needs from UVB exposure alone (except in summer) may be challenging due to low ambient UVB in AB (available only from April to October).
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