Vitamin D status of socio-economically deprived children in Kabul, Afghanistan

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2008 Jan;78(1):16-20. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831.78.1.16.


Background: Cultural, environmental, and diet-related factors were postulated to lead to a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Kabul's socioeconomically deprived children under 5 years of age. We investigated the prevalence of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) deficiency in such a group.

Methods: Children between 6 months and up to 5 years of age were randomly sampled in the Chindawal area of Kabul in January 2005. Plasma samples were frozen to below -20 degrees C and 25(OH)D3 concentrations estimated by high-pressure liquid chromatography.

Results: For all 107 children tested, the median plasma 25(OH)D concentration was 5 ng/mL with a range of 2-24 ng/mL; 73% had concentrations of < 8 ng/mL; 13 other samples were not analyzed due to insufficiency of plasma, staff, or technical problems. About 35 others approached either did not give consent or blood could not be obtained.

Conclusions: This study was conducted in a high-risk population at a peak season for vitamin D deficiency. We conclude that this population of children living in Kabul to be at great risk of developing vitamin D deficiency, rickets, and other possible immunological effects of deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afghanistan / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D