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Objective To evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, as well as factors associated with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels, in children attending a pediatric rheumatology clinic, and to determine whether there was a difference in serum 25(OH)D levels and in vitamin D deficiency between children with autoimmune disorders and nonautoimmune conditions.
Methods Cross-sectional analysis of serum 25(OH)D levels of patients between the ages of 2 and 19 years, seen between November 2008 and October 2009.
Results A total of 254 patients were studied (169 autoimmune disorders, 85 nonautoimmune conditions). The mean age of study patients was 12.3 years; 67% were female and 80% were white. In the autoimmune disorders group, 23% had vitamin D deficiency [serum 25(OH)D < 20 ng/ml], and in the nonautoimmune conditions group 14% were vitamin D deficient. The average level of serum 25(OH)D was 28.6 (± 11) ng/ml (range 2 to 59). Age, ethnicity, body mass index, use of supplements, and season were significantly associated with serum levels of 25(OH)D (all p ≤ 0.02). The OR of patients with autoimmune disorders being vitamin D deficient was 2.3, in relation to patients with nonautoimmune conditions (p = 0.04).
Conclusion Twenty percent of patients attending a pediatric rheumatology clinic were vitamin D deficient. Patients with autoimmune disorders were more likely to be vitamin D deficient than patients with nonautoimmune conditions. Screening of serum 25(OH)D levels should be performed for patients with autoimmune disorders.