Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Foods and Nutrition

Supervisor

Dr. Alicia C. Garcia

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate vitamin D deficiency in Middle Eastern men and women aged 18-33 years who have immigrated to Canada for 5 years or less and attending Western University by measuring serum vitamin D 25- hydroxyvitamin level.

Hypothesis: Middle Eastern population who has been living in Canada for 5 years or less would commonly have vitamin D deficiency as a result of multiple risk factors.

Methodology: Fifty-one healthy Middle Eastern men and women aged 18-33 years who have been living in Canada for five years or less studying at the University of Western Ontario participated in the study. Serum vitamin D 25-hydroxyvitamin was measured by collecting blood samples, which were analyzed at a medical laboratory. Questionnaires were used to collect dietary data, lifestyles, cultural practices, sunlight exposure, and any etiology of non-specific signs or symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

Results: Thirty three percent (33%) of the males and 35% of the females had insufficient vitamin D, which falls between 25-74 nmol/L. Females were more deficient (< 25 nmol/L) in vitamin D (22%) than males (8%). Forty three percent of the younger age had more insufficient and deficient values compared to the slightly older group. Participants who have been in Canada for less than 3 years had more deficient and insufficient vitamin D values. Twenty three percent of the participants who had suffered from malady were vitamin D deficient. Participants who were not taking vitamin D, calcium, and multivitamin supplements had more deficient and insufficient vitamin D values. Additionally, only 4 % of the participants who spent more than 30 minutes per day outdoors under the sun were vitamin D deficient. Participants who were mostly covered by their clothing had more deficient and insufficient vitamin D values.

Value of the research: Published studies in Middle Eastern population show a significant risk of vitamin D deficiency with other related diseases. A majority of this population share similar lifestyles, cultural practices and dietary habits. Further research needs to be done to help future dietitians become more knowledgeable about the major factors that threaten their vitamin D status. Implementation of programs based on the results of this study may increase awareness of the importance of vitamin D for bones and general health. Possible solutions may help this population get the needed vitamin D from different sources that are within their cultural practices and lifestyles.


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