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Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;74(4):494-500.

Vitamin D deficiency and associated factors in adolescent girls in Beijing.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Technology, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia.



Several locally published reports indicate a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among adolescents in China, but no systematic population-based survey has been conducted.


The objective was to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and to study associated factors in adolescent girls in Beijing.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in a random sample of 1248 Beijing girls aged 12-14 y. Nutrient intakes, ultraviolet light exposure, anthropometric characteristics, physical activity, signs and symptoms of rickets, and plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and calcium were measured and X-rays of the hand and wrist were taken.


The prevalence of clinical vitamin D and calcium deficiency (plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D <12.5 nmol/L, plasma calcium <2.25 mmol/L, and muscle spasm at least once per week) was 9.4% in winter. The prevalence of subclinical vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D <12.5 nmol/L) was 45.2% in winter and 6.7% in summer (P < 0.0005). Logistic regression analysis showed that subclinical and clinical vitamin D deficiency in winter were associated with low plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations (<12.5 nmol/L) in summer, low calcium intake ( x +/- SD: 280 +/- 48 compared with 440 +/- 61 mg/d), and low plasma calcium concentrations (<2.25 mmol/L) in winter. The odds ratios for these associations were 3.1, 1.5, and 1.5, respectively.


Subclinical vitamin D deficiency was widespread among Beijing adolescent girls in winter. Low plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in summer, low calcium intake, and low plasma calcium concentrations in winter were the main risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in winter.

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