Vitamin D status in infancy and cardiometabolic health in adolescence

Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Jan 4;113(1):104-112. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa273.


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with obesity-related conditions, but the role of early life vitamin D status on the development of obesity is poorly understood.

Objectives: We assessed whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] at age 1 y was related to metabolic health through adolescence.

Methods: We quantified serum 25(OH)D in samples obtained at age 1 y from 306 participants in a cohort study in Santiago, Chile. Anthropometry was performed at ages 5, 10, and 16/17 y. At 16/17 y, we determined body composition using DXA and quantified metabolic parameters in a blood sample. We examined the associations of infancy 25(OH)D with BMI-for-age z-score (BMIZ) at ages 5, 10, and 16/17 y; with percentage fat and percentage lean body mass at age 16/17 y; and with a metabolic syndrome (MetS) score and its components at age 16/17 y.

Results: Infancy 25(OH)D was inversely associated with BMIZ in childhood. Every 25-nmol/L difference in 25(OH)D was related to an adjusted 0.11 units lower BMIZ at age 5 y (95% CI: -0.20, -0.03; P = 0.01) and a 0.09 unit lower BMIZ change from ages 1 to 5 y (95% CI: -0.17, -0.01; P = 0.02). Also, every 25-nmol/L 25(OH)D in infancy was associated with an adjusted 1.3 points lower percentage body fat mass (95% CI: -2.2, -0.4; P = 0.005) and an adjusted 0.03 units lower MetS score (95% CI: -0.05, -0.01; P = 0.01) at age 16/17 y, through inverse associations with waist circumference and the HOMA-IR.

Conclusions: Serum 25(OH)D at age 1 y is inversely associated with childhood BMIZ, percentage body fat at age 16/17 y, and a MetS score at age 16/17 y. Intervention studies are warranted to examine the effects of vitamin D supplementation in early life on long-term cardiometabolic outcomes.

Keywords: body mass index; infancy; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; obesity; vitamin D.