Risk Factors Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency in Children

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Dr. Hank Liers, PhD vitamin d deficiencyFred Liers PhD vitamin d deficiency

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition presents findings that identify risk factors associated with vitamin D deficiency in children.

Dutch researchers assessed the vitamin D levels in 4,167 children aged six years old to identify determinants of vitamin D deficiency.

Boys kicking football on the  field vitamin d deficiency
Outdoor play is an important factor supporting optimal levels of Vitamin D in children.

The researchers found Vitamin D deficiency common among the children. 29.8% were considered deficient (< 20 ng/ml), 36.5% were considered sufficient (20-30 ng/mL). Only about one third of the children had “optimal” Vitamin D levels (above 30 ng/ml).


Modifiable risk factors reported include quality of diet, sedentary behaviors, and outdoor play.

Specifically, children who watched television for two or more hours per day were 32% more likely to be Vitamin D deficient than those who watched less than two hours of television per day. Outdoor play for at least one hour per day decreased the child’s risk for vitamin D deficiency by 29% compared to children who played outdoors less than one hour daily.

The study concludes “… Important determinants of vitamin D deficiency included a higher child age, more television watching, less playing outside, less biking to school, lower maternal age, lower household income, multiparity, and higher maternal BMI.”

The study was the subject of an insightful article on the Vitamin D Council website. The Vitamin D Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, working to educate the public on vitamin D, sun exposure, and health. It serves as a center for evidence-based vitamin D research and is a reliable source for the general public.


Because improving Vitamin D status in children is a worthy goal, it is important to identify risk factors associated with Vitamin D deficiency. This new study represents an important step in helping to determine modifiable (and non-modifiable) risk factors associated with Vitamin D deficiency.


Voortman T., et al. Vitamin D Deficiency in School-Age Children Is Associated with Sociodemographic and Lifestyle Factors. The Journal of Nutrition, 2015. (http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/02/18/jn.114.208280.abstract)

New Study Determines Risk Factors Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency in Children (http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/vitamin-d-news/new-study-determines-risk-factors-associated-with-vitamin-d-deficiency-in-children/)

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