OBJECTIVE: To compare vitamin D status in an African population living at 10 degrees N with a Norwegian population living at 60 degrees N. DESIGN: Serum samples from 30 healthy young Ethiopians and 31 full term pregnant women from Addis Ababa were collected in September, and from 24 healthy Norwegians in March and 23 pregnant women from Oslo in February to June. METHODS: Serum (s) levels of calcidiol and intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) were measured. RESULTS: The median values for s-calcidiol were significantly lower in Ethiopians compared with Norwegians (young Ethiopians 23.5nmol/l vs young Norwegians 81nmol/l, P<0.001; pregnant Ethiopians 25nmol/l vs pregnant Norwegians 36nmol/l, P<0.05) while those for s-iPTH were significantly higher (young Ethiopians 5.7pmol/l vs young Norwegians 2.4pmol/l, P<0.001; pregnant Ethiopians 4.8pmol/l vs pregnant Norwegians 2.8pmol/l, P<0.02). CONCLUSION: In spite of abundant availability of ultraviolet radiation, the population from Addis Ababa had a high rate of biochemical vitamin D deficiency compared with the Norwegian group.
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