Presence of 25(OH) D deficiency in a rural North Indian village despite abundant sunshine

J Assoc Physicians India. 2008 Oct;56:755-7.


Background and objective: Several studies have shown wide prevalence of vitamin D deficiency with serum 25(OH)D <49.9 nmol/L in urban Indians related to their poor sunshine exposure and skin pigmentation. However, there is limited information in rural Indians. We hypothesized presence of higher 25(OH)D in rural subjects as compared to urban because of farming related abundant sunshine exposure.

Design and methods: We assessed serum 25(OH)D levels in residents of a North Indian village with 200 families, located 90 km East of Delhi during February (winter). Fifty seven subjects (32 males and 25 females) from 50 families consented for the study.

Results: The mean 25(OH)D values of all subjects in the rural area was 36.4 +/- 22.5 nmol/l/L. Males had significantly higher 25(OH)D values than females. When compared to urban subjects, the mean 25(OH)D value of rural males and females was six and three folds higher, respectively. However even with five hours of daily sunshine exposure only 31.5% had serum 25(OH)D levels > or = 50 nmol/L.

Conclusions: Thus, with longer sunshine exposure subjects residing in rural area had better mean 25(OH)D values than that of urbans. However, 70% of them were still vitamin D deficient. These facts indicate the need for the countrywide vitamin D food fortification program irrespective of rural or urban setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continental Population Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / blood
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / deficiency*
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Distribution
  • Skin Pigmentation*
  • Sunlight*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology


  • Hydroxycholecalciferols
  • Vitamin D