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Open AccessArticle

High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Cambodian Women: A Common Deficiency in a Sunny Country

International Life Sciences Institute, South East Asia Region, 9 Mohamed Sultan Road #02-01, Singapore 238959, Singapore
Essential Micronutrients Foundation, 3 Pickering Street, #02-36 Nankin Row, China Square Central, Singapore 048660, Singapore
Cardio Metabolic Institute, Medicine, Endocrinology & Nutrition, 661 Darmody Avenue, North Brunswick, NJ 08902, USA
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition Section, No. 11 street 75, Phnom Penh 12202, Cambodia
National Nutrition Program, Maternal and Child Health Center, No. 31A, Rue de France (St. 47), Phnom Penh 12202, Cambodia
ICF International, 530 Gaither Road, Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
Department of Fisheries Post-harvest Technologies and Quality control (DFPTQ), Fisheries Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), 186 Preah Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh 12000, Cambodia
Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Bülowsvej 17, Frederiksberg C DK-1870, Denmark
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Institute of Research for Development (IRD), UMR Nutripass IRD-UM2-UM1, Montpellier 3400, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nutrients 2016, 8(5), 290;
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrients and National Strategies to Impact Health)
Recent studies have shown that in spite of being generally close to the equator; vitamin D deficiency is common in South East Asian countries. In order to quantify micronutrient status for women and children in Cambodia; a nationally-representative survey was conducted in 2014 linked to the Cambodian Demographic Health Survey. The countrywide median of 25(OH)D was, respectively, 64.9 and 91.1 nmol/L for mothers and children. Based on The Endocrine Society cutoffs (>50<75 nmol/L = insufficiency; ≤50 nmol/L = deficiency); 64.6% of mothers and 34.8% of their children had plasma vitamin D concentrations indicating insufficiency or deficiency. For deficiency alone, 29% of the mothers were found to be vitamin D deficient, but only 13.4% of children. Children who live in urban areas had a 43% higher rate of vitamin D insufficiency versus those who live in rural areas (OR; 1.434; 95% CI: 1.007; 2.041). However, such differences were not observed in their mothers. The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is likely in part due to lifestyle choices, including sun avoidance, increasingly predominant indoor work, and covered transport. These survey findings support the need for a broader national Cambodian study incorporating testing of adult men, adolescents and the elderly, and encompassing other parameters such as skeletal health. However, the data presented in this study already show significant deficiencies which need to be addressed and we discuss the benefit of establishing nationally-mandated food fortification programs to enhance the intake of vitamin D. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; national survey; Cambodia; Demographic Health Survey Nutrition; South East Asia vitamin D; national survey; Cambodia; Demographic Health Survey Nutrition; South East Asia
MDPI and ACS Style

Smith, G.; Wimalawansa, S.J.; Laillou, A.; Sophonneary, P.; Un, S.; Hong, R.; Poirot, E.; Kuong, K.; Chamnan, C.; De los Reyes, F.N.; Wieringa, F.T. High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Cambodian Women: A Common Deficiency in a Sunny Country. Nutrients 2016, 8, 290.

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