Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 87–93 | Cite as

Vitamin D deficiency in refugee children from conflict zones

  • Mohamud SheikhEmail author
  • Shu Wang
  • Abhijit Pal
  • C. Raina MacIntyre
  • Nicholas Wood
  • Hasantha Gunesekera
Original paper


Vitamin D deficiency is common in newly resettled refugee children and is associated with significant morbidity including rickets. To determine risk factors and burden of vitamin D deficiency in newly resettled refugee children in Australia. A descriptive epidemiological study and survey on refugee children attending an outpatient general health clinic at the Children’s Hospital Westmead, Sydney. 215 patients were examined (age range 0–17 years), (76%) majority were from Africa. Mean serum 25OHD level was 46 nmol/L (SD = 24) (sufficiency range 50–150 nmol/L). 40% had mild deficiency (26–50 nmol/L), 19% moderate deficiency (13–25 nmol/L) and 2% were severely deficient (<13 nmol/L). Deficiency was most common in East African (72%) and Middle Eastern (66%) refugees, children in early puberty (89%) and those living in Australia >6 months (71%). Deficient children were more likely to have had movement restrictions and longer time in hiding in their country of refuge (OR 3:1[CI 0.9–9.7], P = .062).


Vitamin D Deficiency Refugee Children Hiding 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamud Sheikh
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Shu Wang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Abhijit Pal
    • 4
    • 3
  • C. Raina MacIntyre
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nicholas Wood
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hasantha Gunesekera
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Public Health & Community MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.The Children’s HospitalWestmeadAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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