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BACKGROUND: Children living in sub-Saharan Africa have a high burden of rickets and infectious diseases, conditions that are linked to vitamin D deficiency. However, data on the vitamin D status of young African children and its environmental and genetic predictors are limited. We aimed to examine the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D deficiency in young African children. METHODS: We measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and typed the single nucleotide polymorphisms, rs4588 and rs7041, in the GC gene encoding the vitamin D binding protein (DBP) in 4509 children aged 0-8 years living in Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and South Africa. We evaluated associations between vitamin D status and country, age, sex, season, anthropometric indices, inflammation, malaria and DBP haplotypes in regression analyses. RESULTS: Median age was 23.9 months (interquartile range [IQR] 12.3, 35.9). Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency using 25(OH)D cut-offs of

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25-hydroxyvitamin D, Africa, Children, GC genotype, Nutrition, Vitamin D binding protein, Vitamin D deficiency