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New study reports 96% of adolescents in Saudi Arabia are vitamin D deficient

Posted on: September 2, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council


The largest study on adolescent health in Saudi Arabia reported a shockingly high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.

Childhood and adolescence are viewed as an opportune time to practice healthy living habits and prevent future health complications. Studies have found that maintaining vitamin D status during childhood and adolescence may reduce one’s risk of developing various diseases, such as atherosclerosis and dental caries, as well as reducing fracture risk.

Researchers recently conducted a study of over 12,000 adolescents from Saudi Arabia to identify health risk behaviors and the health status in this population. Their main findings included the following:

  • 28% of the adolescents reported having a chronic health condition.
  • 3% reported symptoms of depression.
  • 30% were considered overweight or obese.
  • 96% were vitamin D deficient, defined by levels less than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L).

The researchers stated,

“Further analysis to identify the determinants of vitamin D levels is necessary, as are studies to explore optimal levels for our local adolescent population.”

This study illustrates the necessity to increase awareness and knowledge on vitamin D.


AlBuhairan, F. et al. Time for an Adolescent Health Surveillance System in Saudi Arabia: Findings From “Jeeluna.” Journal of Adolescent Health, 2015.

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