Is high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency a correlate for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

  • Madeeha Kamal
  • Abdulbari BenerEmail author
  • Mohammad S. Ehlayel
Original Article


The aim of the study was to determine the association between vitamin D and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and difference in the level of vitamin D in ADHD children and control. This a case–control study carried out in school health and primary health care clinics. A total of 1,331 children and adolescents who were diagnosed with ADHD based on clinical criteria and standardized questionnaires were enrolled in this study and were matched with 1,331 controls, aged 5–18 years old. Data on body mass index (BMI), clinical biochemistry variables including serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were collected. The study found significant association between ADHD and vitamin D deficiency after adjusting for BMI and sex (adj. OR 1.54; 95 % CI 1.32–1.81; P < 0.001). Majority of the ADHD children were in the age group 5–10 years (40.7 %), followed by 11–13 years (38.4 %). The proportion of BMI <85th percentile was significantly over represented in ADHD group as compared to healthy control (87.8 vs. 83 %; P < 0.001, respectively), while on the other hand, BMI >95th percentile was over represented in the control than ADHD group (7.6 vs. 4.6 %; P < 0.001, respectively). Mean values of vitamin D (ng/mL) were significantly lower in ADHD children (16.6 ± 7.8) than in healthy children (23.5 ± 9.0) (P < 0.001). There was significant correlation between vitamin D deficiency and age (r = −0.191, P = 0.001); calcium (r = 0.272, P = 0.001); phosphorous (r = 0.284, P = 0.001); magnesium (r = 0.292, P = 0.001); and BMI (r = 0.498, P = 0.001) in ADHD children. The vitamin D deficiency was higher in ADHD children compared to healthy children.


Epidemiology Association ADHD Vitamin D Risk factors 



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Body mass index



This work was generously supported and funded by the Qatar Foundation Grant No. NPRP 04-169-3-055. The authors would like to thank the Hamad Medical Corporation for their support and ethical approval (RC10226/10). This research was supported by the by the Qatar National Research Fund—QNRF NPRP 04-169-3-055. The sponsor of the study had no role in study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of this report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication. The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madeeha Kamal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abdulbari Bener
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Mohammad S. Ehlayel
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsHamad Medical CorporationDohaState of Qatar
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsWeill Cornell Medical CollegeDohaState of Qatar
  3. 3.Department of Medical Statistics and EpidemiologyHamad Medical CorporationDohaState of Qatar
  4. 4.Department of Public HealthWeill Cornell Medical CollegeDohaState of Qatar
  5. 5.Department Evidence for Population Health Unit, School of Epidemiology and Health SciencesThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  6. 6.Section of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Department of PediatricsHamad Medical CorporationDohaState of Qatar

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