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Low vitamin D status may predispose to fat accumulation: 4,600-woman study

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By Erin S LeBlanc, et al. • • August 22, 2012

Associations Between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Weight Gain in Elderly Women
- Source: Journal of Women’s Health, Aug, 2012

[Note: Low vitamin D was linked to an average of 7 pounds greater body weight at baseline; sustained low D was linked to more weight gain over the 4.5-year tracking period; and among a subgroup who gained more than 5% body weight, the low vitamin D cohort gained significantly more. Note that the cutoff point (30ngmL) used for comparison in this study is considered the bare minimum for ‘sufficient’ vitamin D. ‘Optimal’ is considered 50 to 70ngmL or more (see "D-ficient? Health Risks You Need to Know About"). To read the full text of this article free, go to]

Background: 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels are lower in obese individuals. Determining whether low vitamin D status can predispose weight gain requires a longitudinal study.

Methods: From a community-based multicenter U.S. prospective cohort of 9,704 (Study of Osteoporotic Fractures [SOF]), 4,659 women aged 65 or older with baseline 25(OH)D measurement were followed for 4.5 years.

They were weighed at baseline and follow-up visits, and a subset (n=1,054) had 25(OH)D levels remeasured at follow-up.


Women with 25(OH)D levels 30ng/mL or more had lower baseline weight (141.6 pounds) compared to women with 25(OH)D levels less than 30?ng/mL (148.6 pounds) (p<0.001).

Overall, 25(OH)D status was not associated with weight change over 4.5 years, although there was a significant interaction between 25(OH)D status and weight change category (loss, gain, stable) (p<0.0001).

In women who gained 5% or more weight:

• Those with baseline 25(OH)D levels 30ng/mL or greater gained 16.4 pounds (12.2% of baseline weight) over 4.5 years

• Compared to 18.5 pounds (13.9% of baseline weight) in women with levels lower than 30ng/mL (p=0.04).

In women who lost 5% or more weight or remained stable (less than 5% weight change), there was no association between 25(OH)D status at baseline and weight change.

Among women who gained weight and had 25(OH)D measured at both visits, having sustained or developing 25(OH)D levels greater than 30?ng/mL was associated with less weight gain between visits (14.81 vs. 16.34 pounds, p=0.04).


• Higher 25(OH)D levels are associated with lower weight gains,

• Suggesting low vitamin D status may predispose to fat accumulation.

Source: Journal of Women’s Health, Aug, 2012. PMID:22731629, Leblanc ES, Rizzo JH, Pedula KL, Ensrud KE, Cauley J, Hochberg M, Hillier For The Study Of Osteoporotic Fractures TA. Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, Oregon. Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, Oregon; Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Department of Medicine and Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota; Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA; Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA. [Email:]

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