Background: Vitamin D deficiency is very common in Bangladesh. However, there is scanty of literature available about the knowledge of calcium and vitamin D in 16-18 years old adolescents. The present study has been conducted to determine whether a lack of knowledge exists in this age group about these nutrients and to find out the correlation between students’ living in urban or rural areas.
Methods: We conducted a cross sectional survey in 2992 students living in urban (62.6%) and rural (37.4%) areas aged between 16-18 years. We followed a 2 step sampling technique. 6 colleges from both urban and rural areas were selected by convenience of the interviewers and then required sample size was calculated from the number of students of each college. The students filled up a questionnaire after a detailed briefing about the study by the interviewer.
Result: We found that many of the students, both from urban and rural settings have lack of knowledge and awareness of calcium and vitamin D. Our data suggest that though the rural students are less familiar with vitamin D (p<0.001) and osteoporosis (p=0.0056) than urban students, they exercise a healthy diet in terms of milk consumption (p<0.0001) and engage themselves more in outdoor activities, spend more time in sunlight (p<0.0001) than the urban students. Thus the rural students may require less supplemental support of calcium and/or vitamin D than the urban students (p<0.0001).
Conclusion: Urban students are more familiar with the nutrients than the rural students but rural students’ lifestyle, diet and food habit may allow them to get a healthier nutritional support and thus to have a better nutritional health than urban students.