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.  pii: nxz185. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz185. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

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

OBJECTIVES:

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

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

Mean ± SD CBCL and YSR externalizing problems scores were 56.5 ± 9.3 and 53.2 ± 9.5, respectively. Internalizing problemsscores averaged 57.1 ± 9.8 and 53.7 ± 9.8, respectively. VDD [25(OH)D <50 nmol/L] prevalence was 10.3%. VDD was associated with an adjusted 6.0 (95% CI: 3.0, 9.0) and 3.4 (95% CI: 0.1, 6.6) units higher CBCL and YSR externalizing problems scores, respectively, and an adjusted 3.6 (95% CI: 0.3, 6.9) units higher CBCL internalizing problems scores. The prevalence of clinical total externalizing problems was 1.8 (95% CI: 1.1, 3.1) times higher in children with VDD than that in children without VDD. DBP concentration below the population median was related to higher YSR aggressive behavior and anxious/depressed subscale scores and to higher prevalence of clinical total externalizing problems. The associations between DBP and behavior problems were not mediated through VDD.

CONCLUSIONS:

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

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

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