ChildrenInfantsObesityVitamin D

Might vitamin D deficiency make you chubby?

Less vitamin D means more adiposity, according to researchers in the US and Bogota, Columbia.

First, the details.

  • Researchers looked for associations between vitamin D blood levels and changes in body mass index (BMI), skinfold-thickness ratio (upper arm), waist circumference, and height.
  • Blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] were collected from a randomly selected group of 479 school children.
  • Vitamin D status was considered deficient (less than 50 nmol/L), insufficient 50 to less than 75 nmol/L, or sufficient 75 nmol/L or greater).
  • Anthropometric variables were measured yearly for about 30 months.

And, the results.

  • Children with the lowest vitamin D levels tended to gain weight faster than children with higher levels.
  • Children with the lowest vitamin D levels had more drastic increases in central body fat.
  • Vitamin D deficiency was also linked to slower growth in height among girls but not boys.
  • Of all the children tested, 10% were vitamin D deficient, and another 46% of kids were insufficient, which meant they were at risk of becoming deficient.

The bottom line?

So, lower vitamin D levels are associated with greater risk of adiposity.

The study was conducted in Bogota, a subtropical country. One might be surprised at the high level of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in those children. However, at least 1 other recent study in Costa Rica had similar findings.

In Australia, researchers reported vitamin D deficiency is a problem earlier than childhood. In that study, 19% of newborns had 25(OH)D levels less than 25 nmol/L and 57% had levels less than 50 nmol/L. Only 27% had levels of 75 nmol/l or higher — levels associated with optimal health in older children and adults.

11/11/10 19:26 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.