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Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Aug;88(2):558S-564S.

Assessing the vitamin D status of the US population.

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  • 1Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


This article describes the information currently available in the National Nutrition Monitoring System that is relevant to assessing the vitamin D status of US population groups, the strengths and limitations of this information, and selected results of vitamin D nutritional status assessments. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) provides information on vitamin D intakes only from 1988 to 1994. NHANES collected information on supplement use and circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations from 1988 through current surveys. The National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference started providing limited data on the vitamin D content of foods in 2002 and continues to update these values. The Food Label and Package Survey provides 2006-2007 label information on vitamin D fortification of marketed foods. Despite limitations in the available data and controversies about appropriate criteria for evaluating vitamin D status among population groups, we can make some useful comparisons of vitamin D status among life-stage groups. In general, males have higher vitamin D intakes and 25(OH)D concentrations than do females. Children tend to have higher vitamin D status than adults. The increasing use of multivitamin-mineral dietary supplements in younger to older adults is not associated with a corresponding increase in serum 25(OH)D concentrations. In general, leaner individuals have higher circulating concentrations of 25(OH)D and supplement use than do heavier individuals. Finally, non-Hispanic whites tend to have higher vitamin D status than do non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans.

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