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J Am Coll Health. 1998 Mar;46(5):209-13.

Vitamin C status of a campus population: college students get a C minus.

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Department of Family Resources and Human Development, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA.


Diet and the vitamin C status of two samples of college students were examined. Nonsmoking participants were recruited from a campus population during the fall and winter months. The prevalence of vitamin C deficiency (plasma vitamin C concentrations less than 11 mumol/L) ranged from 1% to 2% in the sampled campus populations. Marginal vitamin C status (plasma vitamin C concentrations from 11 to less than 28 mumol/L) was observed in 12% of the fall sample and 16% in the winter sample. Participants with marginal vitamin C status consumed significantly fewer servings of fruits and vegetables daily than participants with adequate vitamin C status. Marginal vitamin C status, which is even more pronounced in smokers, has been associated with fatigue and increased severity of respiratory tract infections. Because the vitamin C status of many college students, both smokers and nonsmokers, may be inadequate, health promotion or wellness programs for all students should emphasize the importance of adequate fruit and vegetable consumption.

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