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J Nutr. 2013 Feb;143(2):154-60. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.169144. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Vitamin D status in Montréal preschoolers is satisfactory despite low vitamin D intake.

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  • 1School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada.


The 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey reported vitamin D status in a representative sample of Canadians (6-79 y); however, children <6 y were not assessed. Our objective was to measure vitamin D intake from food and supplements, sun exposure, and biological vitamin D status of children ages 2 through 5 y in Montréal (latitude 45°N). Preschoolers (n = 508) were recruited between June 2010 and 2011 in a random sample of licensed daycares in the regions of greater Montréal, Canada in a cross-sectional study. The total plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration was measured using a chemiluminescence assay (Liaison, Diasorin). Dietary intake was assessed during one 24-h period plus a 30-d FFQ. Socioeconomic, demographic, anthropometry, and sun exposure data were collected. Plasma 25(OH)D was ≥50 nmol/L in 88% of children, whereas 49.4% had concentrations ≥75 nmol/L during the 1-y study. Almost 95% of preschoolers had vitamin D intakes less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), and 4.8% of preschoolers ≤3.9 y and 25.9% of preschoolers ≥4 y had calcium intakes less than the EAR. Plasma 25(OH)D was different across age, income, sun index, milk intake, and dietary and supplemental vitamin D intake tertiles. Despite vitamin D intakes less than the EAR, the vitamin D status of Montréal preschoolers attending daycare is mostly satisfactory even in winter, suggesting that the EAR value is too high in the context of typical exogenous intakes of vitamin D in North America.

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