High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Obese Teens

Vitamin D treatment normalizes levels in only 28 percent of obese adolescents

MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Obese adolescents have a very high prevalence of low vitamin D status, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Zeev Harel, M.D., from the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I., and colleagues examined the prevalence of low vitamin D status in 68 obese adolescents and the impact of management of low vitamin D status. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) of less than 20 ng/mL, and insufficiency was defined as 25(OH)D of 20 to 30 ng/mL. Participants with vitamin D deficiency were given 50,000 IU vitamin D once a week for six to eight weeks, and those with vitamin D insufficiency were treated with 800 IU vitamin D daily for three months.

The investigators found that 100 percent of female participants and 91 percent of males had low vitamin D status. There were seasonal variations in the 25(OH)D levels, which were significantly higher in the summer than spring, and significantly lower in the winter than fall. Following an initial course of treatment with vitamin D, there was a significant increase in the mean 25(OH)D, but the levels normalized in only 28 percent of participants. The vitamin D status of the remaining 72 percent of the participants did not improve following repeat courses with the same dosage of vitamin D.

"The present study reports high prevalence of low vitamin D status among obese adolescents, and calls for increased surveillance of obese adolescents whose blood total 25(OH)D levels do not normalize after initial course of treatment," the authors write.

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