Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 is related to physical activity and ethnicity but not obesity in a multicultural workforce

Aust N Z J Med. 1995 Jun;25(3):218-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.1995.tb01526.x.


Background: Recent research suggests that body vitamin D levels are decreased in coronary heart disease and diabetes, but it is unclear which cardiovascular risk factors are related to vitamin D status.

Aims: To examine the relation between vitamin D status and major cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, a marker of recent sun exposure and vitamin D status, was measured in 390 New Zealand residents (95 Pacific Islanders, 74 Maori and 221 others mostly of European descent), who were part of a larger cross-sectional survey of a workforce (n = 5677) aged 40-64 years.

Results: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels were significantly lower in Pacific Islanders (mean (SE) = 56 (3) nmol/L; p = 0.0001) and Maoris (68 (3) nmol/L; p = 0.036) compared with Europeans (75 (2) nmol/L) after adjusting for age, sex and time of year. Also adjusting for ethnic group, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 was higher in people doing vigorous (aerobic) leisure physical activities (71 (2) nmol/L; p = 0.0066) and moderate (non-aerobic) activities (68 (3) nmol/L; p = 0.12) compared with those who were inactive (63 (2) nmol/L). However, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 was unrelated to body mass index, serum lipids, blood pressure or cigarette smoking.

Conclusions: People with increased skin pigmentation, such as Polynesians, and people who are inactive, have decreased body levels of vitamin D; this might partly explain their increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcifediol / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Pacific Islands / ethnology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Pigmentation / physiology*


  • Calcifediol