Determinants of vitamin D status in physically active elderly in the Netherlands

Haaf, D.S.M. ten; Balvers, M.G.J.; Timmers, S.; Eijsvogels, T.M.H.; Hopman, M.T.E.; Klein Gunnewiek, J.M.T.


Purpose: Vitamin D deficiencies are common in elderly, which increases the risk for, e.g., bone fractures. Identification of determinants of vitamin D status may provide leads for specific deficiency prevention strategies. Although determinants of vitamin D status have been studied in various populations, this has not been examined in elderly that have a physically active lifestyle. Methods: Vitamin D status of 450 physically active elderly who do not use vitamin D supplements was determined and information on possible determinants (demographic, dietary intake and physical activity) was collected around a prolonged four day walking event in July and analyzed in linear regression models. Results: The average summertime serum 25(OH)D concentration was 88.8 ± 22.4 nmol/L. Only 2% of the participants had a 25(OH)D concentration below 50 nmol/L. Dietary intake of vitamin D was 4.0 ± 1.9 µg/day, and the participants spent 12.4 ± 8.6 h/week on outdoor activities. In the multivariate model, lower age (= − 0.48, 95% CI − 0.80 to − 0.16), lower BMI (= − 0.86, 95% CI − 1.62 to − 0.10), being a moderate to high drinker versus a non-drinker (= 7.97, 95% CI 0.43–15.51) and more outdoor physical activity (= 0.25, 95% CI 0.01–0.50) were significantly associated with higher 25(OH)D concentrations. Conclusions: In physically active elderly, vitamin D status was very high in summertime, with few deficiencies, suggesting that elderly with a physical active lifestyle might not necessarily need supplements during the summer period. Lower age, lower BMI, higher alcohol intake and more outdoor physical activity had a significant association with vitamin D status.