Body Mass Index & Vitamin D

High Body Mass Index Correlates with Low Vitamin D Levels

A new study epublished in August 2014 indicates that body mass index is related to serum vitamin D levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 69% of adults age 20 or older are overweight or obese, with 35.1% obese.

The subjects included 12,927 adults age 18 or older who participated in the 2001- 2006 United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers evaluated data including serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, body mass index (BMI), and demographics including age, gender, race/ethnicity, nativity and marital status, education, and income. The investigators categorized the subjects based on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Sufficient vitamin D was defined as 25-hydroxyvitamin D of greater than or equal to 20 ng/mL, a cut-point suggested by the Office of Dietary Supplements for adequate bone and general health.

The data showed that 67.2 of American adults had a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 20 ng/ml or greater. The investigators determined that overweight subjects were 8% less likely and obese subjects were 26% less likely to have serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 20 ng/mL or greater after controlling the data for age, gender, race/ethnicity, nativity and marital status, education, and income.

The researchers stated, “The low prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D greater than or equal to 20ng/mL among overweight and obese adults in the U.S. population underscores the need to comparatively assess vitamin D intakes across different BMIs.”


Samuel L, Borrell LN. Ann Epidemiol. 2014 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print.]

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