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J Public Health (Oxf). 2008 Dec;30(4):456-60. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdn076. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

Estimated prevalence and predictors of vitamin C deficiency within UK's low-income population.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK.



Recent case reports of scurvy indicate that vitamin C deficiency may be more prevalent that generally assumed. The Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey (2003-05) of a representative sample of the low-income/materially deprived UK population included a plasma vitamin C measurement.


Adults aged >or=19 years from all countries/regions of UK were screened to identify low-income/materially deprived households. A valid plasma vitamin C measurement was made in 433 men and 876 women. The results were weighted for sampling probability and non-response.


An estimated 25% of men and 16% of women in the low-income/materially deprived population had plasma vitamin C concentrations indicative of deficiency (<11 micromol l(-1)), and a further fifth of the population had levels in the depleted range (11-28 micromol l(-1)). Being a man, reporting low-dietary vitamin C intake, not taking vitamin supplements and smoking were predictors of plasma vitamin C levels <or=28 micromol l(-1) in mutually adjusted logistic regression models.


Health professionals need to be aware that poor vitamin C status is relatively common among adults living on a low income.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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