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Open Access Research article

Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D status in African American men

Marilyn Tseng12*, Veda Giri1, Deborah W Bruner3 and Edward Giovannucci45

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA

2 Department of Kinesiology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA

3 School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

4 Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA

5 Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:191  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-191

Published: 18 June 2009

Abstract

Background

Few studies have examined vitamin D insufficiency in African American men although they are at very high risk. We examined the prevalence and correlates of vitamin D insufficiency among African American men in Philadelphia.

Methods

Participants in this cross-sectional analysis were 194 African American men in the Philadelphia region who were enrolled in a risk assessment program for prostate cancer from 10/96–10/07. All participants completed diet and health history questionnaires and provided plasma samples, which were assessed for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations. We used linear regression models to examine associations with 25(OH)D concentrations and logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) for having 25(OH)D ≥ 15 ng/mL.

Results

Mean 25(OH)D was 13.7 ng/mL, and 61% of men were classified as having vitamin D insufficiency (25(OH)D <15 ng/mL). Even among men with vitamin D intake ≥ 400 IU/day, 55% had 25(OH)D concentrations <15 ng/mL. In multivariate models, 25(OH)D concentrations were significantly associated with supplemental vitamin D intake (OR 4.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5, 12.4) for >400 vs. 0 IU/day), milk consumption (OR 5.9, 95% CI 2.2, 16.0 for ≥ 3.5 vs. <1 time per week), and blood collection in the summer. Additionally, 25(OH)D concentrations increased with more recreational physical activity (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1, 1.6 per hour). A significant inverse association of body mass index with 25(OH)D concentrations in bivariate analyses was attenuated with adjustment for season of blood collection.

Conclusion

The problem of low vitamin D status in African American men may be more severe than previously reported. Future efforts to increase vitamin D recommendations and intake, such as through supplementation, are warranted to improve vitamin D status in this particularly vulnerable population.