Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with insulin resistance independently of obesity in primary schoolchildren. The healthy growth study

Pediatr Diabetes. 2018 Aug;19(5):866-873. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12678. Epub 2018 Apr 22.


Objectives: To explore the associations of vitamin D status and obesity with insulin resistance (IR) in children.

Methods: A sample of 2282 schoolchildren (9-13 years old) in Greece was examined. Sociodemographic, anthropometric (weight, height), biochemical (fasting plasma glucose, serum insulin and 25(OH)D), pubertal status and physical activity data were collected, using standard methods. The "Vitamin D Standardization Program" protocol was applied to standardize serum 25(OH)D values.

Results: The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L) was higher in obese children compared to their over- and normal-weight counterparts (60.5% vs 51.6% and 51%, P = .017). Furthermore, children with IR (both obese and non-obese) had higher prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency compared to non-obese, non-insulin resistant children (66% and 59.2% vs 49.8%, P < .05), possibly indicating that IR is associated with vitamin D insufficiency, independently of obesity. In line with the above, the results from logistic regression analyses controlled for several potential confounders, showed a 1.48 (95% C.I: 1.2-1.84) higher likelihood for vitamin D insufficiency for insulin resistant children compared to the non-insulin resistant ones, while no significant association was observed with obesity.

Conclusions: The present study revealed a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency among schoolchildren in Greece, particularly among obese and insulin resistant ones. In addition, it highlighted that the significant association of vitamin D insufficiency with IR is possibly independent of obesity. Further clinical trials are needed to confirm this possible independent association but also explore the potential beneficial effect of vitamin D supplementation on IR and possibly on weight management too.

Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D; children; insulin resistance; obesity; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology*