Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and physical function in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study All Stars

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Oct;59(10):1793-801. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03601.x. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Objectives: To examine the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and physical function in adults of advanced age.

Design: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of physical function over 3 years of follow-up in the Cardiovascular Health Study All Stars.

Setting: Forsyth County, North Carolina; Sacramento County, California; Washington County, Maryland; and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

Participants: Community-dwelling adults aged 77 to 100 (N = 988).

Measurements: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D 25(OH)D), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and grip and knee extensor strength assessed at baseline. Mobility disability (difficulty walking half a mile or up 10 steps) and activities of daily living (ADLs) disability were assessed at baseline and every 6 months over 3 years of follow-up.

Results: Almost one-third (30.8%) of participants were deficient in 25(OH)D (<20 ng/mL). SPPB scores were lower in those with deficient 25(OH)D (mean (standard error) 6.53 (0.24)) than in those with sufficient 25(OH)D (≥30 ng/mL) (7.15 (0.25)) after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, season, health behaviors, and chronic conditions (P = .006). Grip strength adjusted for body size was also lower in those with deficient 25(OH)D than in those with sufficient 25(OH)D (24.7 (0.6) kg vs 26.0 (0.6) kg, P = .02). Participants with deficient 25(OH)D were more likely to have prevalent mobility (OR = 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI)) = 0.96-2.14) and ADL disability (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.01-2.25) at baseline than those with sufficient 25(OH)D. Furthermore, participants with deficient 25(OH)D were at greater risk of incident mobility disability over 3 years of follow-up (hazard ratio = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.06-2.30).

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency was common and was associated with poorer physical performance, lower muscle strength, and prevalent mobility and ADL disability in community-dwelling older adults. Moreover, vitamin D deficiency predicted incident mobility disability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Reference Values
  • United States
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D