Vitamin D intake and cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescents



Publication Details

Moreira, C., Moreira, P., Abreu, S., Santos, P. C., Moreira-Silva, I., Povoas, S., Mota, J. & Santos, R. (2014). Vitamin D intake and cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescents. Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, 12 (3), 171-177.


Background: A growing body of research suggests that vitamin D might play an important role in overall health. No data exist on vitamin D intake for the Azorean adolescent population. The purpose of this study was to assess vitamin D intake and investigate a possible association between vitamin D intake and cardiometabolic risk factors in Azorean adolescents.

Methods: A cross-sectional school-based study was conducted on 496 adolescents (288 girls) aged 15–18 years from the Azorean Islands, Portugal. Anthropometric measurements (waist circumference and height), blood pressure (systolic), and plasma biomarkers [fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TGs)] were measured to assess metabolic risk. Homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), TC-to-HDL-C ratio, and waist-to-height ratio were calculated. For each of these variables, a Z-score was computed by age and sex. A metabolic risk score was constructed by summing the Z-scores of all individual risk factors. High risk was considered when the individual had ≥1 standard deviation (SD) of this score. Vitamin D intake was assessed with a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Participants were classified into quartiles of vitamin D intake. Logistic regression was used to determine odds ratios for high cardiometabolic risk scores after adjusting for total energy intake, pubertal stage, fat mass percentage, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Results: Mean (SD) vitamin D intake was 5.8 (6.5) μg/day, and 9.1% of Azorean adolescents achieved the estimated average requirement of vitamin D (10 μg/day or 400 IU). Logistic regression showed that the odds ratio for a high cardiometabolic risk score was 3.35 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.28–8.75] for adolescents in the lowest vitamin D intake quartile in comparison with those in the highest vitamin D intake quartile, even after adjustment for confounders.

Conclusion: A lower level of vitamin D intake was associated with worse metabolic profile among Azorean adolescents.

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