Vitamin D insufficiency in internal medicine residents

Calcif Tissue Int. 2005 Jan;76(1):11-6. doi: 10.1007/s00223-004-0025-0. Epub 2004 Oct 14.


Medical residents may be vulnerable to low vitamin D status because of long work hours and lack of sun exposure. We conducted a prospective cohort study to measure serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations among internal medicine residents, document seasonal variation in vitamin D status, and assess risk factors for inadequate vitamin D stores. Dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, lifestyle characteristics, and serum concentrations of 25(OH)-vitamin D and intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) were measured in 35 resident volunteers before and after the winter season. A total of 63-69% of medical residents consumed <400 IU/day of vitamin D; 61-67% consumed <1000 mg/day of calcium. Twenty-five (74%) had lower serum 25(OH)-vitamin D concentrations and 23 (68%) had higher serum iPTH in the spring than in the fall. Nine (26%) residents had serum concentrations of 25(OH)-vitamin D of <20 ng/mL in the fall; and sixteen (47%) in the spring. Seven residents (20%) had serum concentrations of 25(OH)-vitamin D of <20 ng/mL at both time-periods; Eighteen residents (51.4%) had 25(OH)-vitamin D levels of <20 ng/mL for at least one of the time-periods. Medical residents are at risk for hypovitaminosis D, particularly during the winter months and should be aware of the need to supplement their vitamin D stores. Insufficient vitamin D status and inadequate vitamin D intake may have long-term implications for bone health in these individuals. Increased educational efforts to promote healthy dietary and lifestyle choices that allow attainment and maintenance of skeletal health are appropriate in this population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Calcium