Vitamin D inadequacy is widespread in Tunisian active boys and is related to diet but not to adiposity or insulin resistance

  • Ikram Bezrati
  • Mohamed Kacem Ben Fradj
  • Nejmeddine Ouerghi
  • Moncef Feki
  • Anis Chaouachi
  • Naziha Kaabachi
Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D, adiposity, child, insulin resistance, vitamin D deficiency


Background: Vitamin D inadequacy is widespread in children and adolescents worldwide. The present study was undertaken to assess the vitamin D status in active children living in a sunny climate and to identify the main determinants of the serum concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD).
Methods: This cross-sectional study included 225 children aged 715 years practicing sports in a football academy. Anthropometric measures were performed to calculate body mass index (BMI), fat mass, and maturity status. A nutritional enquiry was performed including 3-day food records and food frequency questionnaire. Plasma 25-OHD and insulin were assessed by immunoenzymatic methods ensuring categorization of vitamin D status and calculation of insulin sensitivity/resistance indexes. A logistic regression model was applied to identify predictors for vitamin D inadequacy.
Results: Vitamin D deficiency (25-OHDB12 mg/L) was observed in 40.9% of children and insufficiency (12B25-OHDB20 mg/L) was observed in 44% of children. In a multivariate analysis, vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were associated with a lower dietary intake of vitamin D, proteins, milk, red meat, fish, and eggs. However, no significant relationship was observed with maturation status, adiposity, or insulin resistance.
Conclusions: Tunisian children and adolescents are exposed to a high risk of vitamin D inadequacy despite living in a sunny climate. Circulating 25-OHD concentrations are related to the intake of vitamin D food sources but not to maturation status or body composition. Ensuring sufficient and safe sun exposure and adequate vitamin D intake may prevent vitamin D inadequacy in children from sunny environments.

Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D; adiposity; child; insulin resistance; vitamin D deficiency


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1819-6357
print ISSN: 1993-2820