University of Limerick
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Vitamin D: determinants of status, indications for testing and knowledge in a convenience sample of Irish adult

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posted on 2023-08-08, 11:01 authored by Helena Scully, Eamon LairdEamon Laird, Martin Healy, Vivion Crowley, James Bernard Walsh, Kevin McCarroll

.Vitamin D deficiency is common in Irish adults, though there is limited research on its determinants, knowledge of vitamin D or indications for testing. We aimed to explore the determinants of vitamin D status in adults and examine knowledge and reasons for testing. The study population comprised adults who had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D tested by general practitioners request at a Dublin Hospital in 2020. Questionnaires detailing dietary intake, sun exposure, ethnicity, biophysical factors and vitamin D knowledge were sent to a sample stratified by age, sex and vitamin D status. In total, there were 383 participants, mean age 56·0 (SD 16·6) years. Wintertime deficiency disproportionally affected non-white v. white (60 % v. 24 %, P < 0·001). The greatest predictors of deficiency were low vitamin D intake (< 10 μg/d) (P < 0·001) and non-white ethnicity (P = 0·006), followed by sun avoidance (P = 0·022). It was also more prevalent in those with lower body exposure when outdoors. The majority (86 %) identified vitamin D as important for bone health. However, 40 % were tested for non-clinical indications and half were not aware of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Low vitamin D intake was the most important determinant of deficiency, but ethnicity and sun exposure habits were also significant predictors. The majority had no clear indication for testing and were not aware of the RDA. Public health policies to improve knowledge and vitamin D intake, especially for those of non-white ethnicity and with reduced sun exposure, should be considered.



Journal of Nutrition, 2023, 1-11


Cambridge University Press

Other Funding information

This research was partially funded by Mercers’ Institute and Tirlán (formerly Glanbia PLC). The Mercers’ Institute or Tirlán had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article

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  • Physical Education and Sports Science

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