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Prevalence of Vitamin D Insufficiency in Brazilian Adolescents

Peters B.S.E.a · dos Santos L.C.b · Fisberg M.c · Wood R.J.d · Martini L.A.a
aNutrition Department, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, bNursing School, Minas Gerais Federal University, Belo Horizonte, and cPediatrics Division, São Paulo Federal University, São Paulo, Brazil; dMineral Bioavailability Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Mass., USA Ann Nutr Metab 2009;54:15–21 (DOI:10.1159/000199454)


Background/Aims: Cutaneous sun exposure and dietary vitamin D intake are important determinants of vitamin D status. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the vitamin D status of a group of healthy adolescent students living in Brazil. Methods: One hundred and thirty-six adolescents, 64 boys and 72 girls, aged 16–20 years old, living in a rural town in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, participated in this study. Results: The mean dietary vitamin D intake was 140 (120–156) IU/day [3.5 (3.0–3.9) μg/day]. Only 14.9% of the students met the daily adequate intake recommendation of vitamin D. Only 27.9% practice physical activity outdoors and 17.6% of the adolescents apply sunscreen daily. The mean 25(OH)D concentration was 73.0 (22.0) nmol/l [29.2 (8.8) ng/ml]. Vitamin D insufficiency was observed in 60% of adolescents. Conclusions: The present study suggests that even in a sunny climate like Brazil the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in adolescents is high. Most likely this is due to low intakes of vitamin D in this group. Due to the limited extent of natural dietary sources of vitamin D, a policy of vitamin D food fortification should be considered in the future, and in the meantime greater use of vitamin D supplements in this population group should be encouraged to provide the increased amounts of this essential nutrient for optimal health.


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