September 01, 2011
1 min read

Vitamin D status associated with different types of adiposity in black and white children

Rajakumar K. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96:1560-1567.

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Black and white children with vitamin D deficiency appear to have different types of adiposity.

“Our study found that vitamin D was associated with higher fat levels and lower levels of HDL in both black and white children,” Silva Arslanian, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, said in a press release.

Previous studies have linked serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D with obesity in adults and children, but little data describe this relationship in terms of racial variation. To further investigate this issue, particularly the association between race, vitamin D status and body fat distribution, Arslanian and colleagues analyzed the links between 25-(OH)D levels and BMI, body fat percentage, visceral adipose tissue, subcutaneous adipose tissue and fasting lipids in black and white children. The study included 237 children aged 8 to 18 years. Of these, 47% were black, 47% were obese and 43% were boys. The mean age was 12.7 years, and 18% were prepubertal.

Most children were vitamin D deficient, with 73% of black children and 40% of white children having 25-(OH)D levels less than 20 ng/mL. Plasma 25-(OH)D levels were lower in black vs. white children (16.4 ng/mL vs. 22 ng/mL); in obese vs. nonobese children (17.6 ng/mL vs. 20.9 ng/mL); and in pubertal vs. prepubertal children (18.5 ng/mL vs. 23.3 ng/mL).

Results revealed an inverse association between plasma 25-(OH)D levels and BMI, BMI percentile, total body fat percentage, visceral adipose tissue and subcutaneous adipose tissue. The researchers found a positive association with HDL in all children. However, whereas vitamin D-deficient white children had higher measurements of visceral adipose tissue, vitamin D-deficient black children had higher measurements of subcutaneous adipose tissue.

Race, sex, season and visceral adipose tissue were also predictors of vitamin D status.

The researchers concluded that the relationship between 25-(OH)D and adipose tissue in children, especially among those of different races, is complex and requires further investigation.

“Besides therapeutic interventions to correct the high rates of vitamin D deficiency in youth, benefits of vitamin D optimization on fat levels, lipid profile and risk of type 2 diabetes needs to be explored,” Arslanian said.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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