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Fatme Al-Anouti
Laila Abdel-Wareth
Jaishen Rajah
Afrozul Haq
Subashnie Devkaran
Justin Thomas
Sumaya Al-Ameri
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Fatme Al-Anouti
Laila Abdel-Wareth
Jaishen Rajah
Afrozul Haq
Subashnie Devkaran
Justin Thomas
Sumaya Al-Ameri
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Global Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences

Full Length Research Paper 

Sun avoidance among indoor employees leading to vitamin D deficiency and depression in the United Arab Emirates

Fatme Al-Anouti, Sumaya Al-Ameri, Justin Thomas, Laila Abdel-Wareth, Subashnie Devkaran, Jaishen Rajah and Afrozul Haq

1Department of Natural Science and Public Health, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

2Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

3Department of Quality Management, Al Noor Hospital (Airport Road), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

4Institute of Pediatrics, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

*Corresponding author. E-mail: haq2000@gmail.com. Tel: +971505450046. Fax: +9718192513 

Accepted 05 September, 2013 

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.