Endocrine Abstracts (2011) 27 P1

The vitamin D status of Irish children

Aoife Carroll1, Philip Mayne2 & Nuala Murphy1


1Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Children’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; 2Department of Biochemistry, Children’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Aim: To determine the vitamin D status among healthy Irish children.

Methods: Over a 12 month period (February 2010–February 2011) well children aged 1–16 years attending for minor elective surgical procedures and medical outpatients were recruited. 25 OH vitamin D3, parathyroid hormone and bone profile were measured and a detailed questionnaire (dietary vitamin D intake, vitamin D supplements, sunlight exposure and Ethnicity) was completed on each patient.

Results: 260 healthy children were recruited ranging in age from 1 to 16.2 years (mean 5.8 years). The mean vitamin D level over the 12 month period was 50.5 nmol/l (range 4.8–123 nmol/l) with a mean (±S.D.) Spring/ Summer vitamin D level of 53.2 (±26) nmol/l compared to 49 (±24.5) nmol/l for the Autumn/Winter months. 113/260 (43%) of the group had a vitamin D level <50 nmol/l (insufficient) and 40/260 (15%) had a vitamin D level <25 nmol/l (deficient).

In the younger subgroup aged 1–3 years, the mean (±S.D.) vitamin D level was 64.9 (±22.1) nmol/l as compared to 45.2 (±22.1) nmol/l in children >3 years of age. Twenty percent of all children were receiving vitamin D supplementation. In the supplemented group the mean vitamin D level was higher 57 (±41) vs 45 (±31) nmol/l in the unsupplemented group (P value=0.05).

Conclusions: Fifteen percent of Irish children in this study have deficient vitamin D levels, with a further 28% of Irish children having insufficient levels. Vitamin D supplementation improved vitamin D levels. Vitamin D sufficiency confers health benefits beyond its primary role in bone health and calcium homeostasis (Hollick NEJM 2007). Supplementation of vitamin D is now recommended for infants in Ireland. This data suggests that vitamin D supplementation should be extended beyond infancy.

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