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80 year old blacks 3X more likely to be low on vitamin D than whites – Dec 2008

Age, race and season predict vitamin D status in African American and white octogenarians and centenarians.

J Nutr Health Aging. 2008 Dec;12(10):690-5.
Johnson MA, Davey A, Park S, Hausman DB, Poon LW; Georgia Centenarian Study. Collaborators (12)
Arnold J, Gearing M, Green RC, Jazwinski SM, Martin P, MacDonald M, Markesbery WR, Rodgers WL, Rott C, Siegler IC, Tenover JL, Woodard JL.
The University of Georgia, Department of Foods and Nutrition, 280 Dawson Hall, Athens, GA 30602, USA. mjohnson at fcs.uga.edu

OBJECTIVE: Poor vitamin D status has been associated with osteoporosis, falls, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases, pain, nursing home placement, and other age-related conditions, but little is known about the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D status in those aged 80 and older. Thus, this study tested the hypothesis that vitamin D status would be 1) poorer in a population-based multi-ethnic sample of centenarians as compared with octogenarians and 2) predicted by specific dietary, demographic or environmental factors.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional population-based analyses.

SETTING: Northern Georgia in the United States.

PARTICIPANTS: Men and women aged 80 to 89 (octogenarians, n=80) and 98 and older (centenarians, n=237).

MEASUREMENTS: Regression analyses were used to examine the associations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D 25(OH)D with age, gender, race, living arrangements, dairy food intake, supplement intake, and season.

RESULTS: The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency 25(OH)D<50 nmol/L was higher in centenarians than in octogenarians (p<0.02). In logistic regression analyses, the risk of being vitamin D insufficient was significantly increased by being a centenarian vs. octogenarian (p<0.005) and by being African American vs. white (p<0.001) and decreased by taking a supplement with vitamin D (p<0.001) or by having vitamin D status measured in the summer or fall (each p<0.05), compared with spring.

CONCLUSIONS: Centenarians and octogenarians are at high risk for vitamin D insufficiency for many of the same reasons identified in younger populations. Given the numerous potential adverse consequences of poor vitamin D status, efforts are needed to ensure vitamin D adequacy in these older adults. PMID: 19043643
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From the paper:

80 year old

  • White 31 ng average and 20% were less than 20 ng
  • Black 24 ng average and 36% were less than 20 ng

100 year old

  • White 28 ng average and 31% were less than 20 ng
  • Black 21 ng average and 62% were less than 20 ng
Blacks were about 3.5 times more likely than whites to be vitamin D deficient

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