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28.05.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 7/2018 Open Access

Osteoporosis International 7/2018

Prediction of insufficient serum vitamin D status in older women: a validated model

Osteoporosis International > Ausgabe 7/2018
T. Merlijn, K. M. A. Swart, P. Lips, M. W. Heymans, E. Sohl, N. M. Van Schoor, C. J. Netelenbos, P. J. M. Elders



We developed an externally validated simple prediction model to predict serum 25(OH)D levels < 30, < 40, < 50 and 60 nmol/L in older women with risk factors for fractures. The benefit of the model reduces when a higher 25(OH)D threshold is chosen.


Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased fracture risk in older persons. General supplementation of all older women with vitamin D could cause medicalization and costs. We developed a clinical model to identify insufficient serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) status in older women at risk for fractures.


In a sample of 2689 women ≥ 65 years selected from general practices, with at least one risk factor for fractures, a questionnaire was administered and serum 25(OH)D was measured. Multivariable logistic regression models with backward selection were developed to select predictors for insufficient serum 25(OH)D status, using separate thresholds 30, 40, 50 and 60 nmol/L. Internal and external model validations were performed.


Predictors in the models were as follows: age, BMI, vitamin D supplementation, multivitamin supplementation, calcium supplementation, daily use of margarine, fatty fish ≥ 2×/week, ≥ 1 hours/day outdoors in summer, season of blood sampling, the use of a walking aid and smoking. The AUC was 0.77 for the model using a 30 nmol/L threshold and decreased in the models with higher thresholds to 0.72 for 60 nmol/L. We demonstrate that the model can help to distinguish patients with or without insufficient serum 25(OH)D levels at thresholds of 30 and 40 nmol/L, but not when a threshold of 50 nmol/L is demanded.


This externally validated model can predict the presence of vitamin D insufficiency in women at risk for fractures. The potential clinical benefit of this tool is highly dependent of the chosen 25(OH)D threshold and decreases when a higher threshold is used.

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