Food and Behaviour Research

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The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and the determinants of 25(OH)D concentration in older Irish adults: Data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

Laird E, O’Halloran AM, Carey D, Healy M, O’Connor D, Moore P, Shannon T, Molloy AM, Kenny RA (2017) J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci Sep. 2017 

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Few data are available examining the determinants of vitamin D status exclusively in older adults. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and determinants of vitamin D deficiency in a representative sample of the older Irish population (aged 50 - 98 y).


The concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured in 5,356 community-dwelling older Irish adults from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Detailed demographic, geographic, lifestyle and socio-economic factors were assessed by questionnaire. Proportions of deficiency prevalence were generated by season sampled. Linear regression was used to investigate the association between 25(OH)D concentration and reported risk factors.


The prevalence of deficiency (25(OH)D <30nmol/L) was 13.1% (95% CI: 12.1–14.2). Deficiency status was more prevalent in non-supplement users, in winter, in smokers, in obese adults, the physically inactive, those living alone and in the oldest old (>80 yrs). The main predictors (P<0.05) of 25(OH)D concentration were supplement use (coefficient nmol/L: 27.2 (95% CI: 15.3 to 39.2)), smoking (-8.9 (-12.6 to -5.2), summer season (5.9 (2.7 to 9.1) and obesity (-4.0 (-6.3 to -1.7).


Vitamin D deficiency is common among older Irish adults. These data indicate the need for targeted strategies within sections of the older population to improve vitamin D status.


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