Despite low serum levels of 25(OH)D among children and adolescents worldwide including Ethiopia, data are lacking whether serum 25(OH) levels among Ethiopian schoolchildren are associated with handgrip muscle strength. Thus, this study aims at evaluating the association between serum levels of 25(OH)D and handgrip muscle strength among schoolchildren aged 11-18yrs in Ethiopia.
The analyses of a data set from a school-based cross-sectional study in Adama Town (n=89) and in Rural Adama woreda (n=85) was conducted on a total of 174 randomly selected schoolchildren from both urban and rural settings.
The mean handgrip muscle strength of the students was 17.6±6.9 kg. The average serum 25(OH)D for the group was 54.5±15.8 nmol/L. Nearly half (42%) of the study subjects were vitamin D deficient (serum 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L). Serum 25(OH)D, female sex, age, height, weight and TSF of children were identified to have significant association with handgrip muscle strength when adjusted for potential confounders using multivariable linear regression model. Fathers' occupation of being employed appeared to show a trend towards significant association with handgrip muscle strength of their children.
In conclusion, serum 25(OH)D levels had significant positive association with handgrip muscle strength among Ethiopian schoolchildren. Schools in Ethiopia should incorporate school nutrition club in curricula to enable students in the school discuss important nutrition issues including importance of vitamin D which they can produce adequately up on exposure to sunlight and hence, prevent the negative health consequences of deficiency of this vitamin. Further longitudinal study involving larger sample is recommended to confirm the findings