, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1009-1021,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 May 2010

Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Turkish, Moroccan, Indian and sub-Sahara African populations in Europe and their countries of origin: an overview

Abstract

Summary

Vitamin D status of nonwestern immigrants in Europe was poor. Vitamin D status of nonwestern populations in their countries of origin varied, being either similar to the immigrant populations in Europe or higher than in European indigenous populations. Vitamin D concentrations in nonwestern immigrant populations should be improved.

Purpose

The higher the latitude, the less vitamin D is produced in the skin. Most European countries are located at higher latitudes than the countries of origin of their nonwestern immigrants. Our aim was to compare the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration of nonwestern immigrant populations with those of the population in their country of origin, and the indigenous population of the country they migrated to.

Methods

We performed literature searches in the “PubMed” and “Embase” databases, restricted to 1990 and later. The search profile consisted of terms referring to vitamin D or vitamin D deficiency, prevalence or cross-sectional studies, and countries or ethnicity. Titles and abstracts were reviewed to identify studies on population-based mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations among Turkish, Moroccan, Indian, and sub-Sahara African populations in Europe, Turkey, Morocco, India, and sub-Sahara Africa.

Results

The vitamin D status of immigrant populations in Europe was poor compared to the indigenous European populations. The vitamin D status of studied populations in Turkey and India varied and was either similar to the immigrant populations in Europe (low) or similar to or even higher than the indigenous European populations (high).

Conclusions

In addition to observed negative consequences of low serum 25(OH)D concentrations among nonwestern populations, this overview indicates that vitamin D status in nonwestern immigrant populations should be improved. The most efficacious strategy should be the subject of further study.