The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients with type 2 diabetes seen at a referral hospital in Kenya

Pan Afr Med J. 2019 Sep 17:34:38. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2019.34.38.18936. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is rising at an alarming rate, calling for more insights into its pathogenetic mechanisms, and other factors involved in its progression. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is higher in diabetic compared to non-diabetic patients, and is associated with poor glycaemic control. This has not been documented among diabetic patients in Kenya. Aims: to determine the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among type 2 diabetic patients at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.

Methods: We recruited type 2 diabetic patients on follow-up at Kenyatta National Hospital. Measurements of height, weight and waist/hip ratios were taken. We drew 6mls of peripheral blood to determine vitamin D, zinc and HbA1c levels.

Results: A total of 151 participants were recruited, with 69.5% females and mean age of 58.2 years. Hypertension was found in 72.8% of the participants, and obesity in 37.7%. The mean HbA1c levels were 8.46%, and 62.9% had poor glycaemic control. The mean vitamin D level was 31.40ng/ml. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency was found in 38.4% and 21.9% of the participants respectively. We found a significant inverse correlation between vitamin D and glycaemic control (r = -0.09, p = 0.044) and vitamin D and BMI (r = - 0.145, p = 0.045).

Conclusion: In this study population on long-term follow-up for diabetes, there was high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. This forms a basis for further management of patients with poor glycaemic control. Further studies are needed to document the causal association between poor glycaemic control and vitamin D deficiency.

Keywords: Vitamin D; diabetes; glycemic control.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A