Vitamin D status among immigrant mothers from Pakistan, Turkey and Somalia and their infants attending child health clinics in Norway

Ahmed A Madar, Lars C Stene, Haakon E Meyer
British Journal of Nutrition 2009, 101 (7): 1052-8
High prevalences of vitamin D deficiency have been reported in non-Western immigrants moving to Western countries, including Norway, but there is limited information on vitamin D status in infants born to immigrant mothers. We aimed to describe the vitamin D status and potentially correlated factors among infants aged 6 weeks and their mothers with Pakistani, Turkish or Somali background attending child health clinics in Norway. Eighty-six healthy infants and their mothers with immigrant background were recruited at the routine 6-week check-up at nine centres between 2004 and 2006. Venous or capillary blood was collected at the clinics from the mother and infant, and serum separated for analysis of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (s-25(OH)D) and intact parathyroid hormone (s-iPTH). The mean maternal s-25(OH)D was 25.8 nmol/l, with 57 % below 25 nmol/l and 15 % below 12.5 nmol/l. Of the mothers, 26 % had s-iPTH>5.7 pmol/l. For infants, mean s-25(OH)D was 41.7 nmol/l, with 47 % below 25 nmol/l and 34 % below 12.5 nmol/l. s-25(OH)D was considerably lower in the thirty-one exclusively breast-fed infants (mean 11.1 nmol/l; P < 0.0001). Use of vitamin D supplements and education showed a positive association with maternal s-25(OH)D. There was no significant association between mother's and child's s-25(OH)D, and no significant ethnic or seasonal variation in s-25(OH)D for mothers or infants. In conclusion, there is widespread vitamin D deficiency in immigrant mothers and their infants living in Norway. Exclusively breast-fed infants who did not receive vitamin D supplements had particularly severe vitamin D deficiency.

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