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Recent study determines which factors may contribute to the vitamin D status of an elderly Chinese population

Posted on: November 1, 2017   by  Vitamin D Council


In a recent study, researchers evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in older Chinese individuals living in both urban and suburban communities.

A total of 3,294 Chinese men and women between the ages of 65-95 years old were included in this cross-sectional analysis. All participants were residents of 10 selected Shanghai communities. The researchers assessed factors which may impact the participant’s vitamin D status, such as education level, lifestyle, residency and dietary habits. Serum 25(OH)D status was evaluated at baseline of this study.

This is what the researchers found:

  • Average vitamin D status for men was 24.1 ng/ml (60.25 nmol/l) and average vitamin D status for women was 21.0 ng/ml (52.5 nmol/l).
  • Approximately 43% of the participants were vitamin D deficient (< 20 ng/ml; 50 nmol/l), 38.4% were vitamin D insufficient (20−29.9 ng/ml; 50-75 nmol/l) and 17.5% had  optimal vitamin D levels (≥ 30 ng/ml; ≥75 nmol/l).
  • For men, low education level (uneducated or less than primary school) was a significant risk factor for vitamin D deficiency (p = 0.0115 and p = 0.0059, respectively).
  • Male participants  who exercised ≥30 min/day had significantly lower rates of vitamin D deficiency compared to those who did not exercise (p = 0.0086).
  • Older female subjects with overweight body mass index (BMI) values had higher vitamin D deficiency rates than those with normal BMI values (p = 0.0013).
  • Female participants who consumed ≥250 ml/day of milk had a lower prevalence of vitamin D deficiency than those who did not drink milk (p = 0.0126).

The researchers concluded:

“Vitamin D deficiency is high prevalent in older adults in China, and many modifiable lifestyle factors are potentially important determinant of vitamin D deficiency.”


Cheng, Q. et al. Factors associated to serum 25- hydroxyvitamin D levels among older adult populations in urban and suburban communities in Shanghai, China. BMC Geriatrics, 2017.

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