Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Animal Science

First Advisor

Long, Sara


This study is an analysis of the cultural influences that affect the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Muslim women from sun-rich countries, who now reside in Southern Illinois. Previous studies examine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among this population, while neglecting to examine the extent of cultural influences which can affect the likelihood of having this disorder. Low serum levels of 25(OH)D can occur when there are low levels of vitamin D intake, and when exposure to sunlight is limited. Muslim women are more prone to vitamin D deficiency due to traditional attire, regardless of migration. Upon surveying a convenience sample of 101 Muslim women in Southern Illinois, it was found that upon migration, dietary changes occurred with an increase in dairy consumption and a decrease in fish consumption. The major finding in this study however is the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and concerns of beauty. Among participants, beauty was revealed to be a more important concern than tradition and religion with regard to their practice of covering.




This thesis is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.