Low vitamin D status among obese adolescents: prevalence and response to treatment

J Adolesc Health. 2011 May;48(5):448-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.01.011.


Purpose: To explore the prevalence of low vitamin D status among obese adolescents and to examine the effect of current management of low vitamin D status in these patients.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of obese adolescents who had been screened for vitamin D status by serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) level. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25(OH)D level of <20 ng/mL, vitamin D insufficiency as 25(OH)D level of 20-30 ng/mL, and vitamin D sufficiency as 25(OH)D level of >30 ng/mL. Adolescents with vitamin D deficiency were treated with 50,000 IU of vitamin D once a week for 6-8 weeks, whereas adolescents with vitamin D insufficiency were treated with 800 IU of vitamin D daily for 3 months. Repeat 25(OH)D was obtained after treatment.

Results: The prevalence rate of low vitamin D status among 68 obese adolescents (53% females, 47% males, age: 17 ± 1 years, body mass index: 38 ± 1 kg/m(2), Hispanic: 45%, African American: 40%, Caucasian: 15%) was 100% in females and 91% in males. Mean (±SE) 25(OH)D level was significantly higher in summer (20 ± 8 ng/mL) than in spring (14 ± 4 ng/mL, p < .02), and significantly lower in winter (15 ± 7 ng/mL) than in fall (25 ± 15 ng/mL, p < .05). Although there was a significant (p < .00001) increase in mean 25(OH)D after the initial course of treatment with vitamin D, 25(OH)D levels normalized in only 28% of the participants. Repeat courses with the same dosage in the other 72% did not significantly change their low vitamin D status.

Conclusions: Increased surveillance and possibly higher vitamin D doses are warranted for obese adolescents whose total 25(OH)D levels do not normalize after the initial course of treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Obesity*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhode Island / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diet therapy*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*