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A 6-month “self-monitoring” lifestyle modification with increased sunlight exposure modestly improves vitamin D status, lipid profile and glycemic status in overweight and obese Saudi adults with varying glycemic levels

Nasser M Al-Daghri12*, Hanan Alfawaz13, Naji J Aljohani14, Yousef Al-Saleh15, Kaiser Wani12, Abdullah M Alnaami12, Mohammad Alharbi6 and Sudhesh Kumar7

Author Affiliations

1 Prince Mutaib Chair for Biomarkers of Osteoporosis, Biochemistry Department, King Saud University, PO Box, 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia

2 Biomarkers Research Program, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

3 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Food Science and Agriculture King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

4 Specialized Diabetes and Endocrine Center, King Fahad Medical City, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh 11525, Saudi Arabia

5 College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh 11461, Saudi Arabia

6 Diabetes Centers and Units Administration, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

7 Division of Metabolic and Vascular Health, Clinical Sciences Research Institute, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, Walsgrave, Coventry CV2 2DX, UK

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2014, 13:87  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-87

Published: 26 May 2014



The over-all age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes mellitus type 2 (DMT2) in Saudi Arabia is unprecedented at 31%. Aggressive measures should be done to curb down increasing incidence. In this prospective 6-month study we aim to determine whether a self-monitoring, life-style modification program that includes increased sunlight exposure confer improvement in vitamin D status and health benefits among adult Saudi overweight and obese patients with varying glycemic status.


A total of 150 overweight and obese Saudi adults with varying glycemic status aged 30–60 years were included in this study. They were divided into 3 groups (Non-DMT2, Pre-diabetes and DMT2). Baseline anthropometrics and blood glucose were taken at baseline and after 6 months. Fasting blood sugar, lipid profile, calcium, albumin and phosphate were measured routinely. Serum 25(OH) vitamin D was measured using standard assays. Within the time period they were instructed to reduce total intake of fat, increased fiber intake and increase sun exposure.


In all groups there was a significant improvement in vitamin D levels as well as serum triglycerides, LDL- and total cholesterol. However, a significant increase in serum glucose levels was noted in the non-DMT2 group, and a significant decrease in HDL-cholesterol in both non-DMT2 and pre-diabetes group. In the pre-diabetes group, 53.2% were able to normalize their fasting blood levels after 6 months, with 8.5% reaching the DMT2 stage and 38.3% remaining pre-diabetic. In all groups there was a significant increase in the prevalence of hypertension.


Improving vitamin D status with modest lifestyle modifications over a short-period translates to improvement in lipid profile except HDL-cholesterol among overweight and obese Saudi adults, but not BMI and blood pressure. Findings of the present study merit further investigation as to whether full vitamin D status correction can delay or prevent onset of DMT2.

Vitamin D; Self-monitoring; Diabetes mellitus; Pre-diabetes; Obesity