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25-Hydroxyvitamin D in Canadian adults: biological, environmental, and behavioral correlates

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We assessed vitamin D status and its correlates in the population-based Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos). Results showed that serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <75 nmol/L were common. Given Canada’s high latitude, attention should be given to strategies for enhancing vitamin D status in the population.


Inadequate vitamin D has been implicated as a risk factor for several clinical disorders. We assessed, in a Canadian cohort, vitamin D status and its correlates, based on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], the best functional indicator of vitamin D status.


We studied 577 men and 1,335 women 35+ years from seven cities across Canada in the randomly selected, population-based Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos). Participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire. Serum 25(OH)D was measured by immunoassay. Multivariate linear regression modeling assessed the association between 25(OH)D and determinants of vitamin D status.


Participants (2.3%) were deficient in 25(OH)D (<27.5 nmol/L); a further 18.1% exhibited 25(OH)D insufficiency (27.5–50 nmol/L). Levels <75 nmol/L were evident in 57.5% of men and 60.7% of women and rose to 73.5% in spring (men) and 77.5% in winter (women); 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L was ≤10% year round for those supplementing with ≥400 IU vitamin D/day but was 43.9% among those not supplementing in winter and spring. The strongest predictors of reduced 25(OH)D for both men and women were winter and spring season, BMI ≥30, non-white ethnicity, and lower vitamin D supplementation and its modification by fall and winter.


In this national Canadian cohort, vitamin D levels <75 nmol/L were common, particularly among non-white and obese individuals, and in winter and spring. Vitamin D intake through diet and supplementation and maintenance of normal weight are key modifiable factors for enhancing vitamin D status and thus potentially influencing susceptibility to common chronic diseases.

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The authors would like to thank all the participants in the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study.


CaMos was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Merck Frosst Canada Ltd., Eli Lilly Canada Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc., The Alliance for Better Bone Health: Sanofi-Aventis and Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., Amgen, The Dairy Farmers of Canada, The Arthritis Society.

CaMos Research Group

David Goltzman (co-principal investigator, McGill University, Montreal), Nancy Kreiger (co-principal investigator, University of Toronto, Toronto), Alan Tenenhouse (principal investigator emeritus, Toronto),

CaMos Coordinating Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec: Suzette Poliquin (national coordinator), Suzanne Godmaire (research assistant), Claudie Berger (statistician), Wei Zhou (statistician).

Memorial University, St. John’s Newfoundland: Carol Joyce (director), Christopher Kovacs (co-director), Emma Sheppard (coordinator).

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia: Susan Kirkland, Stephanie Kaiser (co-directors), Barbara Stanfield (coordinator).

Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec: Jacques P. Brown (director), Louis Bessette

(co-director), Marc Gendreau (coordinator).

Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario: Tassos Anastassiades (director), Tanveer Towheed (co-director), Barbara Matthews (coordinator).

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario: Bob Josse (director), Sophie Jamal (co-director), Tim Murray (past director), Barbara Gardner-Bray (coordinator)

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario: Jonathan D. Adachi (director), Alexandra Papaioannou (co-director), Laura Pickard (coordinator).

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Wojciech P. Olszynski (director),

K. Shawn Davison (co-director), Jola Thingvold (coordinator).

University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta: David A. Hanley (director), Jane Allan (coordinator).

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia: Jerilynn C. Prior (director), Millan Patel (co-director), Brian Lentle (radiologist),Yvette Vigna (coordinator).

Conflicts of interest

D. Goltzman has received honoraria from and served on the advisory boards of Amgen, Eli Lilly, Proctor & Gamble, Merck Frosst, Novartis and Servier. D.A. Hanley has received honoraria from Amgen, Proctor & Gamble, sanofi-aventis, Merck Frosst, and Servier. L Greene-Finestone, C Berger, M de Groh, N Hidiroglou, K Sarafin, S Poliquin, J Krieger, and JB Richards have no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to D. Goltzman.

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CaMos Research Group—see complete list after acknowledgements.

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Greene-Finestone, L.S., Berger, C., de Groh, M. et al. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in Canadian adults: biological, environmental, and behavioral correlates. Osteoporos Int 22, 1389–1399 (2011).

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