Vitamin D deficiency is often associated with adverse health outcomes in older adults. The circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) status predominately relies on UV exposure. However, the extent of which northerly latitude exasperates deficiency is less explored in ageing.
We aimed to investigate vitamin D deficiency in community-dwelling, older adults, residing at latitudes 50–55° north. This study was comprised of 6004 adults, aged >50 years from wave 6 (2012–2013) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Deficiency was categorised by two criteria: Institute of Medicine (IOM) (<30 nmol/L) and Endocrine Society (ES) (<50 nmol/L). The overall prevalence of Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Endocrine Society (ES) definitions of deficiency were 26.4% and 58.7%, respectively. Females (odds ratio (OR) 1.23; CI: 1.04–1.44), those aged 80+ (OR: 1.42; CI: 1.01–1.93), smoking (OR: 1.88; CI: 1.51–2.34); of non-white ethnicity (OR: 3.8; CI:2.39–6.05); being obese (OR: 1.32; CI:1.09–1.58), and of poor self-reported health (OR:1.99; CI:1.33, 2.96), were more likely to be vitamin D deficient (by IOM). Residents in the south of England had a reduced risk of deficiency (OR: 0.78; CI:0.64–0.95), even after adjustment for socioeconomic and traditional predictors (obesity, age, lifestyle, etc.) of vitamin D status.
Other factors, such as being retired, having a normal BMI, engaging in regular vigorous physical activity, vitamin D supplement use, sun travel, and summer season were also significantly positive correlates of deficiency. Similar results were observed for the ES cut-off definition. Importantly, more than half of adults aged >50 years had 25(OH)D concentrations <50 nmol/L.
These findings demonstrate that low vitamin D status is highly prevalent in older English adults and the crucial importance of public health strategies throughout midlife and older age to achieve optimal vitamin D status.
Medical opinion and guidance should always be sought for any symptoms that might possibly reflect a known or suspected disease, disorder or medical condition. Information provided on this website (or by FAB Research via any other means) does not in any way constitute advice on the treatment of any medical condition formally diagnosed or otherwise.