Vitamin D: data
The 2010 and 2011 Scottish Health Surveys collected samples of blood from participants which have subsequently been analysed by the Food Standards Agency Scotland to assess vitamin D levels in the population. This showed that the mean serum vitamin D level for the Scottish population was 37.5nmol/l, but that there was substantial variation across the population. Table 1 shows that mean vitamin D levels are lower with increasing deprivation and the percentage of the population with low levels of vitamin D is substantially higher in the more deprived areas.
Table 1 – Vitamin D levels in population aged >16 years by deprivation in 2010-2011 (Source: Purdon 2013)
|Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile||5 (least deprived)||4||3||2||1 (most deprived)|
|Mean vitamin D (nmol/L)||45.7||40.9||38.7||31.5||31.3|
|Percentage of population with suboptimal vitamin D (<25 nmol/l)||25||26||29||38||47|
|95% confidence interval||(19-33)||(21-32)||(22-38)||(31-46)||(39-55)|
A 2007 study based on 7,437 adults from the 1958 British birth cohort found that vitamin D levels in Scottish individuals were lower than those living in other parts of the UK (Table 2 – adapted from Hypponen and Power, 2007).
|Region of residence||Subjects (n)||Mean (95% confidence intervals) (nmol/L)||< 25 nmol/L||< 40 nmol/L||< 75 nmol/L|
|Southern England||1,226||42.6 (41.5, 43.7)||12.5||43.8||86.2|
|Midlands and Wales||690||40.6 (39.3, 42.0)||16.1||46.9||87.9|
|Northern England||676||41.2 (39.7, 42.7)||17.5||46.6||85.9|
|Scotland||256||35.4 (33.4, 37.5)||23.5||60||92.2|
|Summer and autumn|
|Southern England||1,627||62.4 (61.2, 63.6)||2.7||12.3||56.7|
|Midlands and Wales||1,238||60.4 (59.1, 61.8)||2.1||14.8||62.4|
|Northern England||1,261||60.9 (59.5, 62.3)||3.3||15.7||60|
|Scotland||456||50.9 (48.9, 53.0)||8.3||27.5||74.9|
Although there are plausible reasons why vitamin D levels may be lower in the Scottish population than in other countries, there are little data for comparison. Deficiency has also been reported to be common in countries where the population experiences more sunlight than in the UK; for example the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of healthy adults reported that 41.6% of the participants had levels of less than
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