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A systematic review of vitamin D status in populations worldwide – Jan 2014

Br J Nutr. 2014 Jan 14;111(1):23-45. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001840. Epub 2013 Aug 9.
Hilger J1, Friedel A2, Herr R1, Rausch T1, Roos F2, Wahl DA3, Pierroz DD3, Weber P2, Hoffmann K 1 kristina.hoffmann at medma.uni-heidelberg.de
1 Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Ludolf-Krehl-Strasse 7-11, D-68167 Mannheim, Germany.
2 DSM Nutritional Products Limited, Kaiseraugst, Switzerland.
3 International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland.
(Received July 12 2012)

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with osteoporosis and is thought to increase the risk of cancer and CVD. Despite these numerous potential health effects, data on vitamin D status at the population level and within key subgroups are limited. The aims of the present study were to examine patterns of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels worldwide and to assess differences by age, sex and region. In a systematic literature review using the Medline and EMBASE databases, we identified 195 studies conducted in forty-four countries involving more than 168 000 participants. Mean population-level 25(OH)D values varied considerably across the studies (range 4·9-136·2 nmol/l), with 37·3 % of the studies reporting mean values below 50 nmol/l. The highest 25(OH)D values were observed in North America.

Although age-related differences were observed in the Asia/Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions, they were not observed elsewhere and sex-related differences were not observed in any region.

Substantial heterogeneity between the studies precluded drawing conclusions on overall vitamin D status at the population level.

Exploratory analyses, however, suggested that newborns and institutionalised elderly from several regions worldwide appeared to be at a generally higher risk of exhibiting lower 25(OH)D values.

Substantial details on worldwide patterns of vitamin D status at the population level and within key subgroups are needed to inform public health policy development to reduce risk for potential health consequences of an inadequate vitamin D status.

PMID: 23930771
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Summary charts adapted from this study were shown in a public publication

Vitamin D levels around the world - DSM review June 2014
from DSM

DSM 2014