OBJECTIVE: Vitamin D deficiency is well recognized in selected Middle Eastern countries, but neonatal vitamin D status is not well studied in Jordan and other nearby countries. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Jordanian newborns and risk factors associated with low levels.
METHODS: This is a prospective cohort study of newborn infants who were delivered at the Al Bashir Government Hospital in Amman, Jordan, from January 31, 2010, to January 27, 2011. Heel stick blood samples for 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels were obtained within 96 hours of birth. Maternal dress pattern, vitamin supplementation, smoke exposure during pregnancy, mode of delivery, gestational age, and birth weight were documented.
RESULTS: Samples were obtained from 3,731 newborns. Median gestational age was 39 weeks, median birth weight was 3.1 kilograms, median maternal age was 27 years, and median newborn 25(OH)D level was 8.6nmol/L. A total of 3,512 newborns (94.1%) in this study were vitamin D deficient (< 50 nmol/L). Lower gestational age, maternal smoke exposure, and birth during winter months were associated with lower infant vitamin D levels, while vitamin D supplementation and time spent outside during pregnancy were associated with higher vitamin D levels.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of severely low vitamin D levels in newborn infants in Amman, Jordan, is substantial, even in newborns born during the spring and summer months. Vitamin D supplementation is needed in this population.
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