Vitamin D Status Is Inversely Associated With Obesity in a Clinic-Based Sample in Puerto Rico

Nutr Res. 2015 Apr;35(4):287-93. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Feb 12.


Studies show that vitamin D status is associated to obesity but data in Hispanic individuals is scarce. The aim of this study was to assess the association between vitamin D status and obesity in a clinic-based sample in Puerto Rico. We hypothesized that subjects with a higher adiposity would have a lower vitamin D status. We extracted the following data from medical records of a private clinic: age, gender, serum 25(OH)D levels, weight, height, and waist circumference. Body mass index (BMI) (kg/m(2)) and waist-to-height ratio were calculated and categorized according to standard guidelines. Statistical analyses included analysis of covariance, Pearson correlations and χ(2) test. From 797 individuals (mean age 53.7 ± 15.4 years; 63.5% females), 35.6% were overweight and 43.7% obese. Mean 25(OH)D levels were 24.7 ± 8.7 ng/mL; 5.3% had levels <12 ng/mL, 30.6% had levels 12 to 20 ng/mL, and 43.5% had levels 21 to 30 ng/mL. Mean 25(OH)D levels were significantly higher in normal weight and overweight males compared to obese males (P < .05) and in overweight females compared to obese females (P < .05). Levels were also higher in those with low risk compared to high risk of waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio (P < .001). BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-height ratio were inversely correlated to 25(OH)D levels (P < .001). A greater proportion of obese individuals (41.4%) were vitamin D deficient or insufficient compared to the normal weight (33.9%) and overweight individuals (30.3%) (P < .05). In conclusion, in this clinic-based sample of Puerto Rican adults, those with higher BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-height ratio had a significantly lower vitamin D status.

Keywords: 25(OH)D; Body mass index; Hispanics, Puerto Rico; Obesity; Waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio, vitamin D.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Waist Circumference
  • Waist-Height Ratio


  • Vitamin D