Lower bone mineral density in Somali women living in Sweden compared with African-Americans

Arch Osteoporos. 2015;10(1):208. doi: 10.1007/s11657-015-0208-5. Epub 2015 Feb 19.

Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia. Bone mineral density was lower in Somali women, living in Sweden, in relation to both the American and the African-American reference populations. The majority, 73 %, had vitamin D deficiency, and supplementation should be considered to prevent from osteomalacia, osteoporosis and future fractures.

Purpose: Low vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia. The hypothesis was that bone mineral density (BMD) in Somali women living in Sweden was lower in comparison with different ethnic reference populations.

Methods: Women from Somalia, n = 67, median age 35.8 years (range 18 to 56), latitude 0-10° North living in Gothenburg, Sweden, latitude 57° North, >2 years were studied. All wore traditional Islamic clothing and had skin photo type V. BMD was recorded as the Z-score and compared with white American and African-American women, respectively, using standard data from the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) manufacturer (Lunar Prodigy enCORETM, GE Healthcare, LU44663). A fasting blood test was drawn for analysis of serum 25(OH)D.

Results: The median Z-score compared with the American white population was -0.9 SD of the lumbar spine (p < 0.00001), 0.1 SD of the left hip and 0.0 SD of the right hip (ns). The median Z-score compared with the African-American population was -1.6 SD of the lumbar spine (p < 0.00001), -0.9 SD of the left hip and -0.9 SD of the right hip (p < 0.001). The majority, 73 %, had vitamin D deficiency, serum 25(OH)D <25 nmol/l (<10 ng/ml). BMD did not correlate to vitamin D levels or to the number of years in Sweden. One wrist fracture was reported.

Conclusions: BMD was lower in these fairly young immigrant women from Somalia, living in Sweden, in relation to both the American and the African-American reference populations. Vitamin D supplementation should be considered to prevent from osteomalacia, osteoporosis and future fractures.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bone Density*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteomalacia / epidemiology
  • Osteomalacia / ethnology
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / ethnology
  • Somalia / ethnology
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Vitamin D