Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among African migrant and refugee adults in Melbourne
Renzaho, Andre M. N., Nowson, Caryl, Kaur, Ambi, Halliday, Jennifer A., Fong, David and DeSilva, Janina 2011, Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among African migrant and refugee adults in Melbourne, Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 397-403.
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Migration to industrialised countries poses a “double whammy” for type 2 diabetes among sub-Saharan African migrant and refugee adults. This population group has been found to be at an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which may be further aggravated by inadequate vitamin D status. Thus, this study aimed to describe the demographics of vitamin D insufficiency, obesity, and risk factors for type 2 diabetes among sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees aged 20 years or older living in Melbourne, Australia (n=49). Data were obtained by a questionnaire, medical assessment, and fasting blood samples. The mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was 27.3 nmol/L (95% CI: 22.2, 32.4 nmol/L); with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <50 nmol/L occurring in 88% of participants. Participants displayed a cluster of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: 62% were overweight or obese, 47% had insulin resistance (HOMA-IR ≥2), 25% had low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels ≥3.5 mmol/L, 24.5% had high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels ≤1.03 mmol/L, 34.6% had borderline or high levels of total cholesterol (≥5.2 mmol/L), 18.2% had borderline or high levels of triglyceride (≥1.7 mmol/L), and 16% had hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mmHg). These findings suggest that sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees may be at risk of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis-related diseases such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Well-designed vitamin D interventions that incorporate lifestyle changes are urgently needed in this sub-population.
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