Vitamin D deficiency and calcium intake in reference to increased body mass index in children and adolescents

Eur J Pediatr. 2012 Jul;171(7):1081-6. doi: 10.1007/s00431-012-1686-8. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several chronic diseases in adults. Studies focusing on children and adolescents, however, are limited. In this randomized cross-sectional study, we aimed to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its relationship with childhood obesity and dietary calcium intake among a population of healthy urban Saudi children and adolescents. To achieve this, 331 randomly selected Saudi children (53.8% females and 46.2% males) aged 6-17 years were included. Demographic, medical, and dietary information were collected; anthropometrics were measured. Levels of serum fasting glucose, lipid profile, 25(OH) D, and for albumin corrected calcium were analyzed. Vitamin D deficiency was noted in all subjects, with girls having significantly lower vitamin D levels than boys. Mean calcium intake was found to be 60% of the required dietary allowance (RDA), while the mean vitamin D intake was 23% of RDA. Vitamin D status and calcium intake were comparable in both normal and overweight/obese children and adolescents. Vitamin D status was highest among children who had calcium intake >800 mg/day. In adolescents there was insignificant but decreasing trend in BMI, which was observed to be highest among those whose calcium intake was <250 mg/day and lowest among those taking >800 mg/day.

Conclusion: results from this study suggest the importance of vitamin D fortification and increased dietary calcium in the Saudi diet to meet RDA requirements and avoid onset of vitamin D deficiency-related diseases in Saudi children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium, Dietary*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Calcium