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Cross-sectional and longitudinal relation between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and body mass index: the Tromsø study

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The serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels are lower in obese than lean subjects. The present study examines the cross-sectional and longitudinal relations between body mass index (BMI) and serum 25(OH)D, and the serum 25(OH)D response to vitamin D supplementation in relation to BMI.


The Tromsø study is a longitudinal population-based multipurpose study. The fourth survey was conducted in 1994 and the sixth in 2008. The intervention study was a 1-year placebo-controlled randomized intervention trial, where the results from the 93 subjects given 40,000 IU per week are presented.


A total of 10,229 subjects were included in the 2008 cross-sectional study. There was a significant negative association between serum 25(OH)D levels and BMI which was also present during the winter months. Serum 25(OH)D levels varied through seasons, but not BMI. In the longitudinal study from 1994 to 2008 which included 2,656 subjects, change in BMI was a significant negative predictor of change in 25(OH)D. In the intervention study, there was a significant and negative correlation between BMI and serum 25(OH)D both at baseline and at the end of the study. The increase in serum 25(OH)D after 1 year was significantly and inversely related to baseline BMI.


We have confirmed the strong association between serum 25(OH)D and BMI. The very obese need higher vitamin D doses than lean subjects to achieve the same serum 25(OH)D levels.

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The superb assistance by Inger Myrnes, Astrid Lindvall and Ole Martin Ryen Sand at the Department of Medical Biochemistry, and the staff at the Clinical Research Unit at University Hospital of North Norway, is gratefully acknowledged. The present study was supported by a grant from The Northern Norway Regional Health Authority.

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Correspondence to Rolf Jorde.

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Jorde, R., Sneve, M., Emaus, N. et al. Cross-sectional and longitudinal relation between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and body mass index: the Tromsø study. Eur J Nutr 49, 401–407 (2010).

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