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Vitamin D deficiency in obesity and health consequences

Holick, Michael F

Current Opinion in Endocrinology and Diabetes: October 2006 - Volume 13 - Issue 5 - p 412–418
doi: 10.1097/
Obesity and nutrition

Purpose of review As obese adults often have normal bone mineral density, vitamin D deficiency is not considered to be a major health issue for them. It is.

Recent findings Vitamin D deficiency, common in obese children and adults, has been linked to decrease in outdoor activities, avoiding vitamin D fortified foods and the irreversible sequestration of vitamin D by the large pool of body fat. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle weakness and aches and pains in the skeleton, and may alter insulin secretion and sensitivity.

Summary Obese children and adults are often less active and suffer from muscle weakness and bone aches and pains which further decrease their activity and increase their potential for being more obese. Vitamin D sufficiency has been linked to insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity, and, thus, vitamin D deficiency may exacerbate type II diabetes. Monitoring for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and treatment with pharmacologic doses of vitamin D typically 50 000 IU of vitamin D2, once a week for 8 weeks followed by every other week will often correct vitamin D deficiency and maintain a normal vitamin D status. Patients with a body mass index of over 30 may require higher doses or more frequent dosing with vitamin D.

Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Michael F. Holick, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, MA-1013, USA Tel: +617 638 4545; fax: +617 638 4545; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.