Association of plasma vitamin D levels with adiposity in Hispanic and African Americans

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Sep;94(9):3306-13. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-0079. Epub 2009 Jun 23.


Context: Previous studies have suggested vitamin D insufficiency is associated with increased obesity; however, the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH](2)D) and measures of adiposity has not been well characterized in minority populations.

Objective: The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between levels of 25[OH]D and 1,25[OH](2)D and measures of adiposity in Hispanic and African-Americans at baseline and on change in these measures over time.

Design and setting: The Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study examined 917 Hispanics and 439 African-Americans at baseline and again 5.3 yr later (n = 1081 at follow-up).

Main outcome measure: 25[OH]D (nanograms per milliliter) and 1,25[OH](2)D (picograms per milliliter) were measured at baseline. Abdominal sc adipose tissue (SAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT; both determined by computed tomography scan), and body mass index (BMI) were measured at baseline and follow-up.

Results: 25[OH]D was inversely associated with BMI, VAT, and SAT in both populations at baseline (P < 0.001). 25[OH]D was marginally inversely associated with baseline visceral fat to sc fat ratio in African-Americans (P = 0.049) but not Hispanics. 1,25[OH](2)D was inversely associated with BMI (P < 0.0001, P = 0.002) and VAT (P = 0.0005, P = 0.012) in Hispanics and African-Americans, respectively, whereas 1,25[OH](2)D was inversely associated with SAT in Hispanics (P < 0.0001) and with visceral fat to sc fat ratio in African-Americans (P = 0.02). Adjusting for 25[OH]D attenuated these associations; 1,25[OH](2)D remained associated with BMI in both populations (P < 0.05) and with SAT (P = 0.004) in Hispanics. No significant associations between 5-yr change in adiposity and 25[OH]D or 1,25[OH](2)D were seen.

Conclusions: Vitamin D levels were inversely associated with baseline BMI, SAT, and VAT in Hispanic and African-Americans but were not associated with 5-yr change in adiposity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Black or African American*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Vitamin D
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D