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Associations of vitamin D status with dietary intakes and physical activity levels among adults from seven European countries: the Food4Me study



To report the vitamin D status in adults from seven European countries and to identify behavioural correlates.


In total, 1075 eligible adult men and women from Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Greece, UK, Poland and Germany, were included in the study.


Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, defined as 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25-OHD3) concentration of <30 and 30–49.9 nmol/L, respectively, were observed in 3.3 and 30.6% of the participants. The highest prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found in the UK and the lowest in the Netherlands (8.2 vs. 1.1%, P < 0.05). In addition, the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was higher in females compared with males (36.6 vs. 22.6%, P < 0.001), in winter compared with summer months (39.3 vs. 25.0%, P < 0.05) and in younger compared with older participants (36.0 vs. 24.4%, P < 0.05). Positive dose–response associations were also observed between 25-OHD3 concentrations and dietary vitamin D intake from foods and supplements, as well as with physical activity (PA) levels. Vitamin D intakes of ≥5 μg/day from foods and ≥5 μg/day from supplements, as well as engagement in ≥30 min/day of moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA were associated with higher odds (P < 0.05) for maintaining sufficient (≥50 nmol/L) 25-OHD3 concentrations.


The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency varied considerably among European adults. Dietary intakes of ≥10 μg/day of vitamin D from foods and/or supplements and at least 30 min/day of moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA were the minimum thresholds associated with vitamin D sufficiency.

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Study approval: The Food4Me study has been reviewed and approved by seven independent ethical research committees in each of the countries involved in the trial. Patient consent: All participants, both screened and randomised, have given consent to take part in this study. Funding statement: This work was supported by the European Commission under the Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development [265494].

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Manios, Y., Moschonis, G., Lambrinou, C.P. et al. Associations of vitamin D status with dietary intakes and physical activity levels among adults from seven European countries: the Food4Me study. Eur J Nutr 57, 1357–1368 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-017-1415-1

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  • Vitamin D
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D
  • Diet
  • Supplements
  • Physical activity
  • Adults Europe