Studies

Chart of studies

Vitamin D levels vary widely based on a number of factors including age, lifestyle, latitude, season and ethnicity. A number of studies in Australia have reported on Vitamin D levels in specific groups. These individual references are listed below, together with the description of the group included in the study. Two other reviews with general claims on the incidence of vitamin D deficiency world wide are noted below; reporting that the incidence of deficiency ranges from 30-50% in Australia.

Reference

Specific group investigated

Finding

Van der Mei, I. A., et al. (2007). "The high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency across Australian populations is only partly explained by season and latitude." Environ Health Perspect 115(8): 1132-1139.

Geelong, Victoria – women drawn from the electoral roll South East Qld – case control group for a study on psychosis Tasmania – case-control group for a study on multiple sclerosis.

In Australia, studies have found levels of insufficiency of vitamin D in winter/spring in adults such as 40.5% in southeast Queensland, 37.4% in the Geelong region, and 67.3% in Tasmania.

Working Group of the Australian & New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, E. S. o. A. a. O. A. (2005). "Vitamin D and adult bone health in Australia and New Zealand: a position statement." MJA 182(6): 281-285.

Institutionalised or housebound women and men.

Up to 80% of women and 70% of men living in hostels or nursing homes in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia were frankly deficient in vitamin D, and 97% had a 25-OHD level below the median value of the healthy reference range. There also appears to be a significant prevalence of mild vitamin D deficiency in younger adults, particularly during winter.

Grover, S. R. and R. Morley (2001). "Vitamin D deficiency in veiled or dark-skinned pregnant women." Med J Aust 175(5): 251-252.

Veiled and/or dark-skinned pregnant women in Melbourne.

The highest rates of frank deficiency occur in dark-skinned, veiled, pregnant women (80%)

Nowson, C. A. and C. Margerison (2002). "Vitamin D intake and vitamin D status of Australians." Med J Aust 177(3): 149-152

Dark skinned, veiled, pregnant women Mothers of infants with rickets The elderly Younger adults

The highest rates of frank deficiency occur in dark-skinned, veiled, pregnant women (80%), with similarly high rates found in mothers of infants treated for rickets.

Another high-risk group is the elderly, with marginal deficiency rates of 76% in nursing home residents, and 53% in hostel residents.

Other studies assessing younger adults have reported marginal deficiency rates of 23% and 43%, with 8% of young women (20-39 years) found to have frank deficiency at the end of winter in Geelong.

Munns, C., M. R. Zacharin, et al. (2006). "Prevention and treatment of infant and childhood vitamin D deficiency in Australia and New Zealand: a consensus statement."
Med J Aust 185(5): 268-272.

Children

In Tasmania, 8% of 8-year-old and 68% of 16-year-old children have serum 25-OHD concentrations less than 50 nmol/L.

Pasco, J. A., M. J. Henry, et al. (2001). "Vitamin D status of women in the Geelong Osteoporosis Study: association with diet and casual exposure to sunlight."
Med J Aust 175(8): 401-405
Geelong – women aged 20 and above, drawn from the electoral roll

30% of women have low levels of vitamin D (averaged over whole year, not just winter).

In winter more than 50% of women over 60yrs have low levels of vitamin D.
Teale GR and Cunningham CE (2010). "Vitamin D deficiency is common among pregnant women in rural Victoria."
Aust N Z J Obstet and Gynaecol.
Published online April 1 2010.
Pregnant women in north Victoria

In summer: 49.4% had vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency.

In winter 79.9% had vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency.

Two reviews make general statements:

Holick, M. F. and T. C. Chen (2008). "Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences." Am J Clin Nutr 87(4): 1080S-1086S

No-one is immune from vitamin D deficiency. This includes both children and adults living in the United States, Europe, Middle East, India, Australia and Asia. These studies suggest that upwards of 30-50% of children and adults are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Peterlik, M., S. Boonen, et al. (2009). "Vitamin D and calcium insufficiency-related chronic diseases: an emerging world-wide public health problem." Int J Environ Res Public Health 6(10): 2585-2607.

On the average one-half of the adult population in Europe, Western Canada, Australia and New Zealand presents with vitamin D insufficiency.