, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 527-535
Date: 25 Jan 2008

Vitamin D insufficiency among African-Americans in the southeastern United States: implications for cancer disparities (United States)

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To determine the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D insufficiency among black and white adult residents of the southern US.


A cross-sectional analysis of serum 25(OH)D levels using baseline blood samples from 395 Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) participants. Participants were African-American and white adults aged 40–79 who enrolled in the study from 2002–2004. We defined hypovitaminosis D as serum 25(OH)D levels ≤15 ng/ml.


Hypovitaminosis D prevalence was 45% among blacks and 11% among whites. Vitamin D intake from diet and supplements was associated with modest increases in circulating 25(OH)D (0.5–0.7 ng/ml per 100 IU increment), but hypovitaminosis D was found for 32% of blacks with intake ≥400 IU/day. Body mass index (BMI) was a strong predictor of risk for hypovitaminosis D among black women (OR = 6.5, 95% CI 1.7–25.1 for BMI ≥30 kg/m2 vs. 18–24.9 kg/m2). UVR exposure estimated by residential location was positively associated with 25(OH)D levels among all groups except white women.


Hypovitaminosis D was present in a substantial proportion of the African-American population studied, even in the South and among those meeting recommended dietary guidelines. Vitamin D should continue to be a studied target for ameliorating racial cancer disparities in the US.