Food and Behaviour Research

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Trends in the Diagnosis of Vitamin D Deficiency

Basatemur E, Horsfall L, Marston L, Rait G, Sutcliffe A (2017) Pediatrics.  2017 Feb 3. pii:  e20162748. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-2748. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Vitamin D has attracted considerable interest in recent years, and health care providers have reported large increases in vitamin D test requests. However, rates of diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency in clinical practice have not been investigated. We examined trends in diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency in children in England over time, and by sociodemographic characteristics.


Cohort study using primary care records of 711 788 children aged 0 to 17 years, from the Health Improvement Network database. Incidence rates for diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency were calculated per year between 2000 and 2014. Rate ratios exploring differences by age, sex, ethnicity, and social deprivation were estimated using multivariable Poisson regression.


The crude rate of vitamin D deficiency diagnosis increased from 3.14 per 100 000 person-years in 2000 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.31-7.54) to 261 per 100 000 person-years in 2014 (95% CI, 241-281). After accounting for changes in demographic characteristics, a 15-fold (95% CI, 10-21) increase in diagnosis was seen between 2008 and 2014. Older age (≥10 years), nonwhite ethnicity, and social deprivation were independently associated with higher rates of diagnosis. In children aged


There has been a marked increase in diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency in children over the past decade. Future research should explore the drivers for this change in diagnostic behavior and the reasons prompting investigation of vitamin D status in clinical practice.


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