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Vitamin D status and dietary intake in young university students in the UK

Dong, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-2225-7256, Asmolovaite, V., Marseal, N. & Mearbon, M. (2021). Vitamin D status and dietary intake in young university students in the UK. Nutrition & Food Science, 52(4), pp. 616-626. doi: 10.1108/nfs-07-2021-0201


Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent worldwide. This paper aims to investigate the vitamin D status and dietary intake in young university students.

Forty-one healthy students aged 18–29 years from Coventry University UK were recruited during January-February 2019, including white Caucasians (n = 18), African-Caribbeans (n = 14) and Asians (n = 9). Plasma 25(OH)D concentrations were measured and dietary vitamin D intake was determined. Chi-square and simple linear regression were used to analyse the data.

The plasma 25(OH)D concentrations were (36.0 ± 22.2) nmol/L in all subjects, (46.5 ± 25.3) nmol/L in white Caucasians, (22.6 ± 7.4) nmol/L in African-Caribbeans and (37.4 ± 21.7 nmol/L) in Asians. The majority (85.7%) of African-Caribbeans were vitamin D deficient compared with 22.2% of white Caucasians and 33.3% of Asians (p = 0.001). Overweight/obese subjects showed a significant higher proportion of vitamin D deficiency (65%) than normal weight subjects (28.6%) (p = 0.04). The average dietary vitamin D intake in all subjects was (4.6 ± 3.9) µg/day. Only 12.1% of the subjects met the recommended dietary vitamin D intake of 10 µg/day. Dietary vitamin D intake (p = 0.04) and ethnicity (p = 0.01) were significant predictors of 25(OH)D levels and accounted for 13% and 18.5% of 25(OH)D variance, respectively.

Research limitations/implications
This small-scale study showed an alarmingly high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among subjects from African-Caribbean origin during wintertime. Education programs and campaigns are urgently needed to fight the vitamin D deficiency in this population.

The targeted population were in a critical period of transition from adolescence toward adulthood involving in changes in behaviours and nutrition.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher.
Publisher Keywords: Ethnicity, Vitamin D status, Vitamin D deficiency, Dietary vitamin D intake, Young adults
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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