Food and Behaviour Research

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Vitamin D Deficiency in Middle Childhood Is Related to Behavior Problems in Adolescence

Robinson SL, MarĂ­n C, Oliveros H, Mora-Plazas M, Lozoff B, Villamor E (2019) J Nutr 2019 Aug.  DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxz185 

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Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) is associated with depression and schizophrenia in adults. The effect of VDD in childhood on behavioral development is unknown.


We aimed to study the associations of VDD and vitamin D binding protein (DBP) in middle childhood with behavior problems in adolescence.


We quantified plasma total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and DBP in 273 schoolchildren aged 5–12 y at recruitment into a cohort study in Bogota, Colombia. Externalizing and internalizing behavior problems were assessed after a median 6-y follow-up by parental report [Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)] and self-report [Youth Self-Report (YSR)]. We estimated mean problem score differences with 95% CIs between exposure categories using multivariable linear regression. We also compared the prevalence of clinical behavior problems (score >63) between exposure groups. We assessed whether the associations between DBP and behavior problems were mediated through VDD.


Mean ± SD CBCL and YSR externalizing problems scores were 56.5 ± 9.3 and 53.2 ± 9.5, respectively. Internalizing problems scores averaged 57.1 ± 9.8 and 53.7 ± 9.8, respectively. VDD [25(OH)D 


VDD and low DBP in middle childhood are related to behavior problems in adolescence.


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