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New research finds a link between vitamin D levels and physical activity

Posted on: March 23, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council


A new study found that physical activity is associated with higher vitamin D levels. Surprisingly, there was no significant association between outdoor physical activity and vitamin D levels.

Both physical activity and low vitamin D levels have been shown to be associated with adverse health outcomes, such as mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

A few studies have reported that physical activity predicts vitamin D status, specifically showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and outdoor physical activity. This is to be expected because as we spend more time outside, we allow our bodies the opportunity to produce vitamin D.

In a recent study, researchers collected data from NHANES 2003-2006, which included 6,370 adults.

After comparing vitamin D levels and physical activity, the researchers found that those who were insufficiently active were 1.32 times more likely to be vitamin D deficient (levels < 20 ng/ml) than those who were sufficiently active.

Additionally, the researchers found that associations weren’t stronger for self-reported outdoor activities compared to indoor activities.

The researchers concluded,

“An important determinant of the associations between physical activity and circulating vitamin D concentration is sun exposure during outdoor physical activity…However, the fact that in the present study the associations were not stronger for self-reported outdoor compared with indoor physical activity indicates that other effects independent of sun exposure may play a role.”


Wanner M., et al. Associations between objective and self-reported physical activity and vitamin D serum levels in the US population. Cancer Causes & Control, 2015.

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