Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic diseases among different populations worldwide. However, these relationships are still unclear and have not been explored within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) population. In this study, the relationship between vitamin D, risk for depression symptoms, and sun avoidance inventory was explored. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among a sample of employees working in Abu Dhabi (the capital of UAE) was first assessed and then the influence of demographic factors (age, gender and ethnicity) on vitamin D status was examined. A random sample of 141 employees from two different major oil companies within Abu Dhabi was selected and tested for vitamin D deficiency. All participants worked indoors and reflected the multi-ethnic nature of Abu Dhabi residents. Serum levels of vitamin D [25(OH)D] were measured and depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory version 2. Moreover, the sun avoidance inventory (SAI) was used to assess attitudes towards sun avoidance in the context of vitamin D deficiency. There was a significant negative correlation between vitamin D levels and sun avoidance scores (r=-0.45, p<0.0001). Sun avoidance scores were also significantly positively correlated with depression symptoms scores (r=0.33, p<0.001). This study demonstrated that sun avoidance behaviors were the major risk factor for vitamin D deficiency among Abu Dhabi employees and that these were also positively associated with depressive symptoms.
Key words: Vitamin D deficiency, United Arab Emirates, indoor employees, sun avoidance inventory, Beck depression inventory.
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