Determinants of Vitamin D Status of Women of Reproductive Age in Dhaka, Bangladesh: Insights from Husband–Wife Comparisons

Joo Hyun Jeong, Jill Korsiak, Eszter Papp, Joy Shi, Alison D. Gernand, Abdullah Al Mahmud, Daniel E. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is common among women of reproductive age (WRA) in Bangladesh, but the causes remain unclear. Objective: To explain the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in WRA in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we compared the vitamin D status of pregnant women with that of their husbands and between pregnant and nonpregnant states. Methods: This study was an observational substudy of the Maternal Vitamin D for Infant Growth trial conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Women (n = 1300) were enrolled in the second trimester of pregnancy and randomly assigned to 1 of 5 arms consisting of different doses of vitamin D supplements or placebo, with 1 arm continuing supplementation until 6 mo postpartum. A subgroup of trial participants and their husbands with plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration measurements (n = 84), and placebo-group trial participants with serum 25(OH)D measured in the second trimester of pregnancy and 6 mo postpartum (n = 89) were studied using linear mixed-effects regression models. Results: The mean ± SD plasma 25(OH)D in pregnant women in the second trimester was 23 ± 11 nmol/L. Adjusting for age and season, 25(OH)D of pregnant women was 30 nmol/L lower (95% CI: −36, −25 nmol/L) than that of men. Only 9% of total variance in 25(OH)D was explained by factors shared by spousal pairs. Selected nonshared factors (BMI, time spent outdoors, involvement in an outdoor job, sunscreen use) did not explain the association of sex with 25(OH)D. Adjusting for age, season, and BMI, 25(OH)D was similar during pregnancy and 6 mo postpartum (mean difference: −2.4 nmol/L; 95% CI: −5.3, 0.4 nmol/L). Conclusions: In Dhaka, WRA have substantially poorer vitamin D status than men. Variation in 25(OH)D is not greatly influenced by determinants shared by spouses. Measured nonshared characteristics or pregnancy did not account for the gender differential in 25(OH)D. This trial was registered at as NCT01924013.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernzz112
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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