Journal of Refugee & Global Health


Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and lactation has negative impacts on maternal, fetal, and infant health. Low health literacy and other social determinants of health may increase the risk of deficiency among refugee women. This qualitative study used a survey and in-depth individual interviews to examine knowledge of vitamin D among ten pregnant or breastfeeding Iraqi refugee women in the United States, and sought participants’ recommendations on culture-centered and participatory health promotion strategies. All participants reported having insufficient information and understanding of vitamin D, its health benefits, and the risks of deficiency. The four primary themes that emerged from the interviews were the quality of available vitamin D information, barriers to seeking such information, intersectionality of health and environment, and power differentials and the control of the health agenda. Participants’ recommendations included bridging the language barrier and training health care providers to deliver the information needed to raise awareness. The findings of this study provide an opportunity for public health systems to design culture-centered health education and promotion strategies to ensure vitamin D adequacy among this vulnerable population.


The author(s) received no specific funding for this work



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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