The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1824-7288-40-54) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
FV and MDP designed the study, acquiring and analyzing data. FV, MDP and MF drafted the manuscript. PE carried out the biochemical assays. FV performed statistical analysis. GS revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Vitamin D plays an important role in health promotion during adolescence. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are common in adolescents worldwide. Few data on vitamin D status and risk factors for hypovitaminosis D in Italian adolescents are currently available.
25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were evaluated in 427 Italian healthy adolescents (10.0-21.0 years). We used the following cut-off of 25-OH-D to define vitamin D status: deficiency < 50 nmol/L; insufficiency 50-75 nmol/L; sufficiency ≥ 75 nmol/L. Hypovitaminosis D was defined as 25-OH-D levels < 75.0 nmol/L and severe vitamin D deficiency as 25-OH-D levels < 25.0 nmol/L. We evaluated gender, residence, season of blood withdrawal, ethnicity, weight status, sun exposure, use of sunscreens, outdoor physical activity, and history of fractures as predictors of vitamin D status.
Enrolled adolescents had a median serum 25-OH-D level of 50.0 nmol/L, range 8.1-174.7, with 82.2% having hypovitaminosis D. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were detected in 49.9% and 32.3% of adolescents, respectively. Among those with deficiency, 38 subjects were severely deficient (38/427, 8.9% of the entire sample). Non-white adolescents had a higher prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency than white subjects (6/17-35.3% vs 32/410-7.8% respectively, p = 0.002). Logistic regression showed increased risk of hypovitaminosis D as follows: blood withdrawal taken in winter-spring (Odds ratio (OR) 5.64) compared to summer-fall period; overweight-obese adolescents (OR 3.89) compared to subjects with normal body mass index (BMI); low sun exposure (OR 5.94) compared to moderate-good exposure and regular use of sunscreens (OR 5.89) compared to non regular use. Adolescents who performed < 3 hours/week of outdoor exercise had higher prevalence of hypovitaminosis D. Gender, residence, and history of fractures were not associated with vitamin D status. Serum 25-OH-D levels were inversely related to PTH (r = -0.387, p < 0.0001) and BMI-SDS (r = -0.141, p = 0.007). 44/427 (10.3%) adolescents showed secondary hyperparathyroidism.
Italian adolescents have high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. Pediatricians should tackle predictors of vitamin D status, favoring a healthier lifestyle and promoting supplementation in the groups at higher risk of hypovitaminosis D.
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- Prevalence of hypovitaminosis D and predictors of vitamin D status in Italian healthy adolescents
Marta Del Pistoia
- BioMed Central
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