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.