Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency could be linked to several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its correlates to test the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency was common in the US population, especially in certain minority groups. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 to 2006 data were analyzed for vitamin D levels in adult participants (N = 4495). Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≤20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). The overall prevalence rate of vitamin D deficiency was 41.6%, with the highest rate seen in blacks (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%). Vitamin D deficiency was significantly more common among those who had no college education, were obese, with a poor health status, hypertension, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, or not consuming milk daily (all P < .001). Multivariate analyses showed that being from a non-white race, not college educated, obese, having low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, poor health, and no daily milk consumption were all significantly, independently associated with vitamin D deficiency (all P < .05). In summary, vitamin D deficiency was common in the US population, especially among blacks and Hispanics. Given that vitamin D deficiency is linked to some of the important risk factors of leading causes of death in the United States, it is important that health professionals are aware of this connection and offer dietary and other intervention strategies to correct vitamin D deficiency, especially in minority groups.
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