Vitamin D insufficiency among African-Americans in the southeastern United States: implications for cancer disparities (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2008 Jun;19(5):527-35. doi: 10.1007/s10552-008-9115-z. Epub 2008 Jan 25.


Objective: To determine the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D insufficiency among black and white adult residents of the southern US.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of serum 25(OH)D levels using baseline blood samples from 395 Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) participants. Participants were African-American and white adults aged 40-79 who enrolled in the study from 2002-2004. We defined hypovitaminosis D as serum 25(OH)D levels < or = 15 ng/ml.

Results: Hypovitaminosis D prevalence was 45% among blacks and 11% among whites. Vitamin D intake from diet and supplements was associated with modest increases in circulating 25(OH)D (0.5-0.7 ng/ml per 100 IU increment), but hypovitaminosis D was found for 32% of blacks with intake > or = 400 IU/day. Body mass index (BMI) was a strong predictor of risk for hypovitaminosis D among black women (OR = 6.5, 95% CI 1.7-25.1 for BMI > or = 30 kg/m(2) vs. 18-24.9 kg/m(2)). UVR exposure estimated by residential location was positively associated with 25(OH)D levels among all groups except white women.

Conclusions: Hypovitaminosis D was present in a substantial proportion of the African-American population studied, even in the South and among those meeting recommended dietary guidelines. Vitamin D should continue to be a studied target for ameliorating racial cancer disparities in the US.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black or African American*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology*