European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 174, Issue 6, pp 749–757 | Cite as

25-hydroxyvitamin D serum level in children of different ethnicity living in Italy

  • Bruna Franchi
  • Michele Piazza
  • Marco Sandri
  • Laura Tenero
  • Pasquale Comberiati
  • Attilio Loris BonerEmail author
  • Carlo Capristo
Original Article


Several factors including ethnicity are known to influence 25(OH)D levels. The purpose of our study was to assess 25(OH)D levels among 1374 pediatric subjects of different ethnicity and to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency among different ethnic groups. The prevalence of 25(OH)D ≤20 ng/ml was 44.2, 65.2, 69.2, 54.0, and 44.8 % among Caucasians, Africans, North Africans, Indians, and others, respectively (P < 0.001). The median of 25(OH)D was 21.0 ng/ml (IQR = 14.0–29.6 ng/ml) for the cohort. Season of blood sampling, age, ethnicity, gestational age, birth weight, and z-score BMI were associated with 25(OH)D levels. Caucasians had higher median 25(OH)D levels than sub-Saharan Africans (P < 0.001), North Africans (P < 0.001), and Indians (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in the median 25(OH)D levels between ethnic groups among infants, whereas for children older than 1 year we found significant differences in 25(OH)D levels in the different ethnic groups, compared to Caucasians.

Conclusion: Ethnicity was correlated with 25(OH)D levels among children older than 1 year. We found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency after the first year of life, and this was more remarkable in non-Caucasian children.


Vitamin D Children Ethnicity Age 



25-hydroxyvitamin D


Bone mineral density


Body mass index


Human cathelicidin antimicrobial protein


1,25(OH)2D3-catabolizing cytochrome P450 enzyme


Interquartile range




Vitamin D receptor



We are grateful to Ms. Judyth Dillon, native English-speaking copyeditor, for editing the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest and financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work.

No external funding has been secured for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruna Franchi
    • 1
  • Michele Piazza
    • 1
  • Marco Sandri
    • 1
  • Laura Tenero
    • 1
  • Pasquale Comberiati
    • 1
  • Attilio Loris Boner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carlo Capristo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Life and Reproduction Sciences, Pediatrics SectionUniversity of Verona, Policlinico G.B. RossiVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Women and Children and General and Specialized SurgerySecond University of NaplesNaplesItaly

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