Associations of vitamin D with novel and traditional anthropometric indices according to age and sex: a cross-sectional study in central southern China

  • Xiao-Ling Zhu
  • Zhi-Heng Chen
  • Ying Li
  • Ping-Ting Yang
  • Lei Liu
  • Liu-Xin Wu
  • Ya-Qin WangEmail author
Original Article



Vitamin D insufficiency and obesity are recognized as worldwide concerns and have been linked with each other. New anthropometric indices reflect visceral obesity better than traditional anthropometric indices. Our aim was to identify the specific correlations of novel and traditional anthropometric indices with 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations by sex and age.


Cross-sectional data on sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle factors, clinical characteristics and biochemical measurements were collected for 12,617 Chinese adults. Four traditional anthropometric indices, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), and two novel anthropometric indices, body roundness index (BRI) and body shape index (ABSI), were calculated.


In both sexes, the mean values of BMI, WC, WHtR and BRI tended to increase with 25(OH)D insufficiency, regardless of adjustment (all P < 0.05). Males with insufficient 25(OH)D had increased odds of obesity (assessed by BMI, WC, WHtR, BRI and ABSI) compared to the odds of males with sufficient 25(OH)D. Females with insufficient 25(OH)D had a higher chance of general obesity (assessed by BMI). Low 25(OH)D status was associated with indicators of obesity only in participants aged 45–64 years in both sexes.


A inverse association between obesity and lower vitamin D levels was found. Moreover, in addition to BMI, novel indicators of visceral adiposity, such as BRI and ABSI, were associated with lower 25(OH)D serum concentrations in males. The effects of optimizing vitamin D levels in obese Chinese adults need further examination, particularly in middle-aged males.

Level of evidence

Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.


Serum 25(OH)D Obesity Anthropometric indices Sex Age 



The authors appreciate the valuable assistance of all subjects. We would also like to thank Chang Liu for his help with data programming.


This study was supported by the New Xiangya Talent Project of the Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University (JY201515) and the Research on Educational and Teaching Reform of Central South University (2019jy185).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects included in the study.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (JPEG 441 kb)
40519_2019_803_MOESM2_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 13 kb)
40519_2019_803_MOESM3_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health ManagementThe Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Center for Health Management ResearchCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  3. 3.Zhongguancun Xinzhiyuan Health Management InstituteBeijingChina

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