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

Br J Nutr. 2009 Apr;101(7):1052-8. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508055712. Epub 2008 Sep 9.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Educational Status
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Welfare*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers*
  • Norway
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Somalia / ethnology
  • Turkey / ethnology
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D