Prevalence and predictors of vitamin D deficiency in five immigrant groups living in Oslo, Norway: the Oslo Immigrant Health Study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;59(1):57-63. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602033.


Objective: To study the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and to identify possible predictors of vitamin D deficiency in five main immigrant groups in Oslo.

Design: Cross-sectional, population-based.

Setting: City of Oslo.

Subjects: In total, 491 men and 509 women with native countries Turkey, Sri Lanka, Iran, Pakistan and Vietnam living in the county of Oslo.

Results: Median serum 25(OH)D level (s-25(OH)D) was 28 nmol/l, ranging from 21 nmol/l in women born in Pakistan to 40 nmol/l in men born in Vietnam. Overall prevalence of vitamin D deficiency defined as s-25(OH)D<25 nmol/l was 37.2%, ranging from 8.5% in men born in Vietnam to 64.9% in women born in Pakistan. s-25(OH)D did not vary significantly with age. s-25(OH)D was higher in blood samples drawn in June compared to samples obtained in April, but not significantly for women. Reported use of fatty fish and cod liver oil supplements showed a strong positive association with s-25(OH)D in all groups. Education length was positively associated with s-25(OH)D in women, whereas body mass index (BMI) was inversely associated with s-25(OH)D in women. These two variables were not related to vitamin D deficiency in men.

Conclusions: There is widespread vitamin D deficiency in both men and women born in Turkey, Sri Lanka, Iran, Pakistan and Vietnam residing in Oslo. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is higher in women than in men, and it is higher in those born in Pakistan and lower in those born in Vietnam compared to the other ethnic groups. Fatty fish intake and cod liver oil supplements are important determinant factors of vitamin D status in the groups studied. BMI and education length are also important predictors in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Iran / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Seasons
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Sri Lanka / ethnology
  • Turkey / ethnology
  • Vietnam / ethnology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D