Arch Dis Child 91:569-572 doi:10.1136/adc.2005.077974
  • Original article

Hypovitaminosis D among healthy adolescent girls attending an inner city school

  1. G Das1,
  2. S Crocombe2,
  3. M McGrath1,
  4. J L Berry3,
  5. M Z Mughal2
  1. 1Central Manchester Primary Care Trust, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Medicine, Saint Mary’s Hospital for Women & Children, Manchester, UK
  3. 3University Department of Medicine, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M Z Mughal
    Consultant Paediatrician & Honorary Senior Lecturer in Child Health, Department of Paediatric Medicine, Saint Mary’s Hospital for Women & Children, Hathersage Road, Manchester M13 0JH, UK; zulf.mughal{at}
  • Accepted 22 August 2005
  • Published Online First 20 September 2005


Aims: To determine the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among healthy adolescent schoolgirls attending an inner city multiethnic girls’ school.

Methods: Fifty one (28%) of 182 girls (14 white, 37 non-white; median age 15.3 years, range 14.7–16.6) took part in the study. Biochemical parameters, dietary vitamin D intake, muscle function parameters, duration of daily sunlight exposure (SE), and percentage of body surface area exposed (%BSA) were measured.

Results: Thirty seven (73%) girls were vitamin D deficient (25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) <30 nmol/l) and 9 (17%) were severely deficient (25OHD <12.5 nmol/l). The median (range) 25OHD concentration of white girls (37.3 nmol/l (18.3–73.3)) was higher than that of non-white girls (14.8 nmol/l (5.8–42.8)). The median (range) concentration of parathyroid hormone in white girls (2.8 pmol/l (1.0–3.7)) was lower than that of non-white girls (3.4 pmol/l (1.7–34.2)). Serum Ca, inorganic phosphate, alkaline phosphatase, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D were not different in white and non-white girls. For the whole group, 25OHD concentration was related to the estimated SE and %BSA, but not to estimated intake of vitamin D. In white girls, the estimated SE and %BSA were significantly higher than that of non-white girls. The median times taken to complete the Gower’s manoeuvre and grip strength were not different in the two groups; these variables were not related to serum 25OHD.

Conclusions: Hypovitaminosis D is common among healthy adolescent girls; non-white girls are more severely deficient. Reduced sunshine exposure rather than diet explains the difference in vitamin D status of white and non-white girls.


  • Published Online First 20 September 2005

  • Competing interests: none declared