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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53059. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053059. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Development and validation of a vitamin D status prediction model in Danish pregnant women: a study of the Danish National Birth Cohort.

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  • 1Centre for Fetal Programming, Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Vitamin D has been hypothesized to reduce risk of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, and preterm delivery. However, many of these outcomes are rare and require a large sample size to study, representing a challenge for cohorts with a limited number of preserved samples. The aims of this study were to (1) identify predictors of serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25(OH)D) among pregnant women in a subsample (N = 1494) of the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) and (2) develop and validate a score predicting 25(OH)D-status in order to explore associations between vitamin D and maternal and offspring health outcomes in the DNBC. In our study sample, 42.3% of the population had deficient levels of vitamin D (<50 nmol/L 25(OH)D) and average levels of 25(OH)D-status were 56.7(s.d. 24.6) nmol/L. A prediction model consisting of intake of vitamin D from diet and supplements, outdoor physical activity, tanning bed use, smoking, and month of blood draw explained 40.1% of the variance in 25(OH)D and mean measured 25(OH)D-level increased linearly by decile of predicted 25(OH)D-score. In total 32.2% of the women were placed in the same quintile by both measured and predicted 25(OH)D-values and 69.9% were placed in the same or adjacent quintile by both methods. Cohen's weighted kappa coefficient (Κ = 0.3) reflected fair agreement between measured 25(OH)D-levels and predicted 25(OH)D-score. These results are comparable to other settings in which vitamin D scores have shown similar associations with disease outcomes as measured 25(OH)D-levels. Our findings suggest that predicted 25(OH)D-scores may be a useful alternative to measured 25(OH)D for examining associations between vitamin D and disease outcomes in the DNBC cohort, but cannot substitute for measured 25(OH)D-levels for estimates of prevalence.

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