Pakistani immigrant children and adults in Denmark have severely low vitamin D status

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;62(5):625-34. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602753. Epub 2007 Apr 18.


Objective: To determine vitamin D and bone status in adolescent girls, pre-menopausal women and men of Pakistani origin, to single out determinants of vitamin D status and to determine the association between vitamin D status, bone metabolism and bone status.

Subjects/methods: Cross-sectional study, Copenhagen (55 degrees N), January-November. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (S-25OHD), serum intact parathyroid hormone (S-iPTH), bone turnover markers and whole body and lumbar spine bone mineral density were measured. Sun, smoking and clothing habits, age, body mass index (BMI), and vitamin D and calcium from food and from supplements were recorded. Thirty-seven girls (median age, range: 12.2 years, 10.1-14.7), 115 women (36.2 years, 18.1-52.7) and 95 men (38.3 years, 17.9-63.5) of Pakistani origin (immigrants or descendants with Pakistani parents) took part in the study.

Results: Median concentration of S-25OHD was 10.9, 12.0 and 20.7 nmol/l for girls, women and men, respectively. Forty-seven per cent of the girls, 37% of the women and 24% of the men had elevated S-iPTH, and there was a negative relationship between S-iPTH and S-25OHD. Use of vitamin D-containing supplements had a positive association with S-25OHD for men (P=0.04) and women (P=0.0008). Twenty-one per cent of the women and 34% of the men had osteopenia. Neither S-25OHD nor S-iPTH was associated with lumbar spine or whole body bone mineral content.

Conclusions: Severely low vitamin D status and elevated S-iPTH is common among Pakistani immigrants in Denmark. The low vitamin D status is not associated with bone markers or bone mass among relatively young Pakistanis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / blood*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Smoking
  • Sunlight*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D