Journal of Public Health

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 577–583 | Cite as

Predictors of vitamin D supplementation amongst infants in Ireland throughout the first year of life

  • Annemarie E. BennettEmail author
  • John M. Kearney
Original Article



To investigate predictors of compliance with the recommendation that all infants in Ireland are supplemented daily from birth to 12 months of age with 5 μg of vitamin D.

Subjects and methods

A prospective observational study was conducted. Self-complete questionnaires recorded socio-demographic characteristics, health behaviours and supplementation practices for 158 mother-infant dyads at 4, 9 and 12 months post-partum. A 2-day food diary was also obtained on 12-month-old infants to examine the contribution of diet to vitamin D intakes.


At 4, 9 and 12 months of age, 57.6% (n = 91), 34.2% (n = 54) and 23.4% (n = 37) of infants, respectively, were supplemented as recommended. In multivariate analyses, receiving supplementation advice from health professionals in the early post-partum period was the most significant predictor of correctly supplementing 4-month-old [p < 0.01; odds ratio, OR: 61.94 (95% confidence interval, CI: 11.53–332.83)], 9-month-old [p < 0.01, OR: 10.30 (95% CI: 2.29–46.27)] and 12-month-old [p = 0.04, OR: 3.85 (95% CI: 1.05–14.08)] infants. Amongst 12 month olds, mean intakes from diet and supplementation combined (7.6 ± 4.7 μg/day) were suboptimal.


Suboptimal vitamin D supplementation practices were evident throughout infancy. Dietary intakes of vitamin D did not compensate for suboptimal supplementation practices. Supplementation practices may improve if health professionals advocate safe supplementation during routine infant health checks.


Vitamin D supplementation Infancy Supplementation policy Infant bone health Non-compliance 



The authors wish to acknowledge the mothers who participated in this study; their time was greatly appreciated.


The lead author was funded by a Dublin Institute of Technology Fiosraigh Scholarship. This scholarship was 50% funded by the Dublin Institute of Technology and 50% funded by Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication January/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health SciencesSt. James’ Hospital CampusDublin 8Ireland
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesDublin Institute of TechnologyDublin 8Ireland

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