27 June, 2007

Conservative Dress Could Cause Vitamin Deficiency in Women

So says a study by UAE University faculty.
In certain Middle Eastern and other countries where conservative dress curtails exposure to sunlight, high levels of vitamin D supplementation may be needed to raise serum levels sufficiently in women, investigators report.

"When sunlight exposure -- the main source for vitamin D in humans -- is limited," Dr. Hussein F. Saadi told Reuters Health, "much higher dietary intake of vitamin D is needed than currently recommended," especially for women who are breast-feeding.
Out of 178 women studied, only two did not have vitamin D deficiency. Only 30 percent were able to get their vitamin D levels to proper level after three months of high-levels of supplements.


Dynamic Deeds said...

I go to the beach weekly so I guess I'm not lacking anything =P

Anonymous said...

you don't know what to do to strip conservative people from their clothes. lol

fellow atheist said...

I actually like this Dr. Hussein's guy take on it. He didn't say, conservative dress codes are bad, so you should put on a tank-top and mini-skirt.. he said, take more Vitamin D supplements to work-around your dress-code.

This is precisely what a doctor and/or scientist should say.. and how a pragmatic person would think.

P.S. I personally don't like those ninja-type of dress codes, but everyone's free to dress as they please I suppose.

Brn said...

I agree fellow atheist, I took it to mean something like "If you want to be a vegetarian for moral reasons, make sure you get enough iron some other way."

BuJ said...

ah.. interesting.. i'm going to commission a study on the readers of this blog to see if they suffer from lower IQs than other readers.

personally i'm not for a super-cover up that has nothing to do with islam.. this goes way beyond.

however these dress rules are purely cultural, and should be respected, especially coming from an expat and directed at the country's native populous.

after all i see a resident visa as a 3-year permit to work, earn, and live.. rather than to want to remodel this country in the shadow of your own.

again, this looks to me like an article the economist would only publish.. and those who read my blog know how much respect I have for them.

Brn said...


What disrespect are you talking about?

Lirun said...

i have a question of those who wear it for religious reasons.. asking it with all due respect..

is it possible that we were made such that we acquire most of our vitamin d from the sun because the exposure is expected and healthy? could it be that our divine creator intended us to not be covered up?

i think there is a health issue in this post but also a theological ethical issue..

in the west we speak often about cultural shauvanism and oppression of our women.. we limit their rights through unwritten norms of discreditation and condescension by the male populace.. this has created religious.. cultural and political realities that severely impact women..

eg the western workplace is often not family friendly.. you have to choose between the two and therefore some women are left in solitude as they attempt to achieve in their professional lives and others are simply cut out of the productive slices of society..

i think if a doctor raises a concern.. its at least worthy of discussion without being offended or accusing of cultural attack.. no?

btw this comment is not intended to provoke but merely to query..

wishing you all a great thursday ;)

secretdubai said...

From other articles I have read about this, which focused more on the issues of calcium deficiency (vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium properly into the body), the problems is not so much about conservative dress as a preference for paler skins.

Muslim/Gulf/Arab women can easily get the sunlight exposure they need with a few minutes in their own gardens each day. But many don't like to risk tanning their skins because of fashions/cultural perceptions of beauty. Just as many westerners wreck their skins and risk skin cancer by overtanning, easterners wreck their skins with bleaching products and not getting enough Vitamin D/calcium, leading to higher osteroporosis rates.

again, this looks to me like an article the economist would only publish

The one(s) I read were in Gulf News and/or Khaleej Times, and they quoted local/muslim doctors.

secretdubai said...

Here's one article in Gulf News about national women and osteoporosis. And here is one quoting a national doctor. Also Khaleej Times:

Dr Mariam Mattar, Assistant Undersecretary of Preventive Medicine in the Ministry of Health (MoH) for Public Health and Primary Care (PHC), has urged Emirati women to understand these risks and find ways to help themselves.

"Wearing an abaya and staying indoors limits our exposure to the sun, but it is still possible for women to allow the sun rays to come in contact with their skin during the early morning for around 15 to 20 minutes every day. We can still preserve our culture while maintaining good health," she said.

And here is another about children in the UAE generally.

So I think the comment about the Economist is rather unfair. This is people's health we are taking about, maybe time to get over the paranoia ;)

BuJ said...

Oki dokie.. Thanks SD for your input.. but do you seriously think I hate everything in the Economist? Do you also think I like every single Arab or Muslim? ;)


PS: I like the way the Economist is starting to sound like an insult :)

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