Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among healthy adolescents

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Jun;158(6):531-7. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.158.6.531.

Abstract

Background: Although vitamin D deficiency has been documented as a frequent problem in studies of young adults, elderly persons, and children in other countries, there are limited data on the prevalence of this nutritional deficiency among healthy US teenagers.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in healthy adolescents presenting for primary care.

Design: A cross-sectional clinic-based sample.

Setting: An urban hospital in Boston.

Participants: Three hundred seven adolescents recruited at an annual physical examination to undergo a blood test and nutritional and activity assessments.

Main outcome measures: Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) and parathyroid hormone, anthropometric data, nutritional intake, and weekly physical activity and lifestyle variables that were potential risk factors for hypovitaminosis D.

Results: Seventy-four patients (24.1%) were vitamin D deficient (serum 25OHD level, </=15 ng/mL [</=37.5 nmol/L]), of whom 14 (4.6%) were severely vitamin D deficient (25OHD level, </=8 ng/mL [</=20 nmol/L]). By using a broader definition (25OHD level, </=20 ng/mL [</=50 nmol/L]), 129 patients (42.0%) were vitamin D insufficient. Serum 25OHD levels were inversely correlated with parathyroid hormone levels (r = -0.29), and were 24% lower during winter compared with summer. In a final multivariate model, season, ethnicity, milk and juice consumption, body mass index, and physical activity were significant independent predictors of hypovitaminosis D.

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency was present in many US adolescents in this urban clinic-based sample. The prevalence was highest in African American teenagers and during winter, although the problem seems to be common across sex, season, and ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Seasons
  • Sex Distribution
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D