Vitamin D status and associated metabolic risk factors among North Korean refugees in South Korea: A cross-sectional study

Kyeong Jin Kim, Yoon Jung Kim, Sun Hwa Kim, Jee Hyun An, Hye Jin Yoo, Hee Young Kim, Ji A. Seo, Sin Gon Kim, Nan Hee Kim, Kyung Mook Choi, Sei Hyun Baik, Dong Seop Choi, Nam Hoon Kim

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10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Vitamin D deficiency is now recognised as a common health problem associated with various chronic diseases; however, it has not been fully elucidated among the minority groups. Here, we aimed to investigate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its associated metabolic risk factors among North Korean refugees living in South Korea. Design: Cross-sectional analysis from the longitudinal cohort, the North Korean refugee health in South Korea (NORNS) study. Participants: A total of 386 North Korean refugees aged ≥30 years, who measured serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) level. Results: The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D <20 ng/mL) was 87% and no participants had an adequate vitamin D level (25(OH)D ≥30 ng/mL). Underweight participants (body mass index (BMI) <18 kg/m2) had significantly lower 25(OH)D levels than individuals with normal BMI (.18.5 and<23 kg/m2). In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the lowest 25(OH)D level (<10 ng/mL) was significantly associated with metabolic syndrome (OR, 6.37, 95% CI 1.34 to 30.3), high triglyceride (OR, 6.71, 95% CI 1.75 to 25.7), and low high-density lipoprotein (OR, 5.98, 95% CI 1.54 to 23.2) compared with 25(OH)D levels ≥20 ng/mL after adjusting for age, sex, season, length of residence in South Korea, physical activity and BMI. Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is very common among North Korean refugees in South Korea. Despite their lower BMI, vitamin D deficiency was associated with metabolic syndrome in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere009140
JournalBMJ open
Volume5
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Kim, K. J., Kim, Y. J., Kim, S. H., An, J. H., Yoo, H. J., Kim, H. Y., Seo, J. A., Kim, S. G., Kim, N. H., Choi, K. M., Baik, S. H., Choi, D. S., & Kim, N. H. (2015). Vitamin D status and associated metabolic risk factors among North Korean refugees in South Korea: A cross-sectional study. BMJ open, 5(11), [e009140]. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009140