Background/Objectives: Vitamin D deficiency in children remains a global concern. Although literature exists on the vitamin D status and its risk factors among children in the Middle East, findings have yielded mixed results, and large, representative community studies are lacking.
Subjects/Methods: In a nationally representative survey of 1077 Jordanian children of preschool age (12–59 months) in Spring 2010, we measured 25(OH)D3 concentrations by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry and calculated prevalence ratios for deficiency associated with various factors.
Results: Results showed 19.8% (95% confidence interval (CI): 16.4–23.3%) deficiency (<12 ng/ml) and 56.5% (95% CI: 52.0–61.0%) insufficiency (<20 ng/ml). In adjusted models, prevalence of deficiency was higher for females compared with males (prevalence ratio (PR)=1.74, 95% CI: 1.22–2.47, P=0.002) and lower for children 24–35 months of age (PR=0.64, 95% CI: 0.44–0.92, P=0.018) compared with children 12–23 months of age. In rural areas, there was no difference in prevalence of vitamin D deficiency between those whose mothers had/did not have vitamin D deficiency (P=0.312); however, in urban areas, prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 3.18 times greater among those whose mothers were vitamin D deficient compared with those whose mothers were not deficient (P=0.000).
Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency pose significant public health problems in Jordanian children with female children disproportionately affected. Strong associations between vitamin D status in children and urban residency and maternal vitamin D status suggest that the behaviors related to sun exposure in urban mothers likely also affect the sun exposure and thus vitamin D status of their children.