Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anita Nucci

Second Advisor

Meera Penumetcha

Third Advisor

Catherine McCarroll


Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between vitamin D and calcium intake and obesity in a population of young adolescents who participated in a Vitamin D and Sunlight Exposure study in Pittsburgh, PA.

Participants: 252 healthy 6 to 14.9 year old young adolescents (54% male, 69% African American) were recruited between June 2006 and December 2009.

Main outcome measures: Weight status, BMI, vitamin D intake, calcium intake, vitamin D and calcium rich food intake.

Results: A significant difference by race was observed with 30.1% of African Americans and 8.5% of Caucasians being obese (P<0.01). No difference was found by gender. Median (25%, 75%) vitamin D intake in the total population was 254.9 IU (146.8, 407.3) which is below the level recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Median calcium intake in the total population was 1193.6 mg (752.8, 1161.1) which met recommended guidelines. Median vitamin D intake differed by weight status (normal, overweight, obese) in the total population (259.5 IU, 325.2 IU and 181.9 IU, respectively; P=0.015). A similar pattern was observed for calcium (1193.4 mg, 1416.3 mg and 911.6 mg, respectively; P=0.016). No correlation was found between vitamin D or calcium intake and BMI in the total population or by race and gender.

Conclusion: Vitamin D and calcium intake was significantly different based on weight status, particularly in obese and African American subjects. Vitamin D intake in the population was reportedly below recommended guidelines. Further research is necessary to determine the ideal vitamin D and calcium intake in children for optimal health status, including longitudinal studies to better assess the relationship between vitamin D and calcium intake and weight status.


Included in

Nutrition Commons