Low socioeconomic status is a risk factor for vitamin D deficiency

Low socio-economic status is a newly identified independent risk factor for poor vitamin D status in severely obese adults

Léger-Guist’hau et al., JHND Early View


Hypovitaminosis D is very prevalent, especially in the obese population. However, the degree of severity and the parameters involved in vitamin D deficiency in this population are still unclear. The present study aimed to identify, from among the factors known to influence vitamin D status in a healthy population, those impacting the same parameter in obese population.


Serum 25-OH-D concentration was measured in 564 patients with class III obesity [i.e. severe and morbid obesity; mean (SD) body mass index (BMI) 42.04 (6.92) kg m–2] and their demographic, clinical, biological, anthropometric, dietary and socio-economic data were collected.


We observed that 96% of the obese patients had serum 25-OH-D lower than 30 ng mL−1. Severe vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-OH-D concentration <10 ng mL−1) affected 35% of this population. We found an inverse relationship between 25-OH-D levels and BMI (= 0.012), fat mass (= 0.041), metabolic syndrome (< 0.0001), fasting blood glucose (= 0.023), homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (P = 0.008), waist circumference (= 0.001), and fasting blood triglycerides (= 0.002) and C-reactive protein (= 0.005). Low socio-economic status independently increased the risk of severe vitamin D deficiency [odds ratio (OR) = 1.98; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25–3.13], especially in the autumn–winter season (OR = 2.94; 95% CI 1.98–4.36), morbid obesity (OR = 3.19; 95% CI 1.49–6.82), metabolic syndrome (OR = 1.6; 95% CI 1.06–2.42) and inflammation (OR = 1.03; 95% CI 1.01–1.06).


Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common among obese patients, and the prevalence of severe deficiency is high. The association of adiposity, high body mass index, metabolic syndrome and inflammation with vitamin D status is marked, whereas low socio-economic status appears to be a major risk factor for severe vitamin D deficiency, suggesting that vitamin D deficiency may at least in part be responsible for the greater health vulnerability of populations with low socio-economic status.


One thought on “Low socioeconomic status is a risk factor for vitamin D deficiency

  1. This is another reason we need to be careful when we recommend supplements for vitamin D. We need to make sure people on low incomes (not just those on benefits) can get vitamin D supplements which are often quite expensive.

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