Vitamin D deficiency is associated with reduced mobility after hip fracture surgery: a prospective study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Sep 1;112(3):613-618. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa029.


Background: Hip fractures are associated with a high rate of morbidity and mortality, and successful ambulation after surgery is an important outcome in this patient population.

Objective: This study aims to determine whether 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration or the Geriatric Nutritional Risk Index (GNRI) is associated with mortality or rates of walking in a patient cohort after hip fracture surgery.

Methods: Patients undergoing hip fracture repair from a multisite study in North America were included. Mortality and mobility were assessed at 30 and 60 d after surgery. Serum albumin, 25(OH)D, and intact parathyroid hormone were measured. Patients were characterized according to 25(OH)D <12 ng/mL, 12 to <20 ng/mL, 20 to <30 ng/mL, or ≥30 ng/mL. GNRI was categorized into major/moderate nutritional risk (<92), some risk (92 to <98), or in good nutritional status (≥98).

Results: Of the 290 patients [aged 82 ± 7 y, BMI (kg/m2): 25 ± 5], 73% were women. Compared with patients with <12 ng/mL, those with higher 25(OH)D concentrations had higher rates of walking at 30 d (P = 0.031): 12 to <20 ng/mL (adjusted OR: 2.61; 95% CI: 1.13, 5.99); 20 to <30 ng/mL (3.48; 1.53, 7.95); ≥30 ng/mL (2.84; 1.12, 7.20). In addition, there was also greater mobility at 60 d (P = 0.028) in patients with higher 25(OH)D compared with the reference group (<12 ng/mL). Poor nutritional status (GNRI <92) showed an overall trend to reduce mobility (unadjusted P = 0.044 and adjusted P = 0.056) at 30 but not at 60 d. There was no association of vitamin D or GNRI with mortality at either time.

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency (<12 ng/mL) is associated with reduced ambulation after hip fracture surgery, whereas GNRI also contributes to immobility but is a less reliable predictor. Mechanisms that can explain why vitamin D deficiency is associated with mobility should be addressed in future studies.

Keywords: albumin; elderly; functional status; geriatric; hip fracture; mobility; mortality; nutritional status; vitamin D.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D