Canadian Aboriginal Women Have a Higher Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency than Non-Aboriginal Women Despite Similar Dietary Vitamin D Intakes1,2

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Abstract

Canadian Aboriginal women have high rates of bone fractures, which is possibly due to low dietary intake of minerals or vitamin D. This study was undertaken to estimate dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D by designing a culturally appropriate dietary survey instrument and to determine whether disparities exist between Aboriginal and white women. After validation of a FFQ, 183 urban-dwelling and 26 rural-dwelling Aboriginal women and 146 urban white women completed the validated FFQ and had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] measured. Urban Aboriginal women had lower (P = 0.0004) intakes of total dietary calcium than urban white women; there was no difference in rural Aboriginal women. Only a minority of all women met the adequate intake (AI) for calcium intake. Ethnicity did not affect total vitamin D intake; however, rural Aboriginal women consumed all of their dietary vitamin D from food sources, which was more (P < 0.03) than both urban Aboriginal and white women. Rural and urban Aboriginal women had lower (P < 0.0004) serum 25(OH)D than urban white women. We found that 32% of rural Aboriginal, 30.4% of urban Aboriginal, and 18.6% of urban white women were vitamin D deficient, with serum 25(OH)D concentrations <37.5 nmol/L. The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Aboriginal women, combined with lower dietary intake of calcium, especially in older women, likely contributes to the higher incidence of fracture in this population. J. Nutr. 137: 461-465, 2007.

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