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Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Preschool-Age Children in Northern Sweden Are Inadequate After Summer and Diminish Further During Winter

Öhlund, Inger; Silfverdal, Sven-Arne; Hernell, Olle; Lind, Torbjörn

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: May 2013 - Volume 56 - Issue 5 - p 551–555
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182838e5b
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Background and Objective: Despite studies indicating that vitamin D intake among Swedish children does not meet the recommendation, little is known of their vitamin D status. The aim of the present study was to examine vitamin D status in preschool-age children in relation to vitamin D intake, season, body mass index, and skin color.

Methods: Preschool-age children (n = 90; mean age 54 ± 7.1 months), all living in northern Sweden (latitude 63° north), half of them with fair skin, half with darker complexion, were recruited from well-baby clinics. The study group was examined first in August–September (late summer) and then the following January–February (winter). Skin type, vitamin D intake, anthropometrics, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (S-25[OH] D), and serum parathyroid hormone were assessed.

Results: Mean ± SD S-25(OH) D in summer and winter were 60 ± 15 nmol/L and 55 ± 16 nmol/L, respectively (P < 0.001). Fifteen percent and 10% had S-25(OH) D ≥75 nmol/L, and 25% and 40% had S-25(OH) D <50 nmol/L, respectively. The mean vitamin D intake was higher in dark-skinned compared with fair-skinned children. In spite of this, S-25(OH) D in dark-skinned children was lower compared with fair-skinned children during both seasons. The dietary intake of vitamin D was positively associated with S-25(OH) D levels.

Conclusions: Vitamin D status is inadequate in preschool-age children living in northern Sweden, especially in dark-skinned children and during the winter despite vitamin D intakes meeting the recommendations, prompting strategies to improve intake of vitamin D in this population.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Pediatrics, Umeå University,Umeå, Sweden.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Inger Öhlund, Department of Clinical Sciences, Pediatrics, Umeå University, S-901 85 Umeå, Sweden (e-mail:

Received 6 October, 2012

Accepted 17 December, 2012

Supported by grants from: Financial support provided through regional agreement between Umeå University and Västerbotten County Council on cooperation in the field of Medicine, Odontology and Health (ALF), the Hedlunds’ Foundation, the Oskar Foundation, the Jerring Foundation and the Samariten Foundation.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,