Date of Award

Summer 6-2-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Anita Nucci

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarah Henes

Third Advisor

Dr. Desiree Wanders


Objectives: To assess the association between serum 25(OH)D and body mass index (BMI) in pre- and early-adolescents and to determine whether this association varies by demographic/clinical characteristics.

Methods: Vitamin D status was determined using serum 25(OH)D in healthy pre- and early adolescents in Pittsburgh, PA (deficiency=/mL, insufficiency=12-/mL, sufficiency=≥20 ng/mL). Adiposity was quantified using BMI percentile (normal=<85th, overweight=>85th-95th, obese=>95th). The relationship between serum 25(OH)D and adiposity was assessed in the total population and after stratification by gender, race, Fitzpatrick skin type, age, and Tanner stage.

Results: 294 children (mean age 10.2 + 2.1 years; 60% African American; median serum 25(OH)D=27.0 ng/mL) were studied. Serum 25(OH)D was significantly lower in obese (n=72) vs. overweight (n=48) and normal weight (n=171) participants at 23.6, 29.5, and 28.2 ng/mL, respectively; p=0.015. This trend remained significant for early adolescents but did not differ after stratification by other demographic/clinical characteristics. A significant negative correlation was found between BMI and serum 25(OH)D (r = -0.315; p=0.000). Regression analysis predicted that 25% of the variance in serum 25(OH)D levels was attributed to BMI, gender, race, skin type, age, pubertal status, daily vitamin D and calcium intake, sun exposure, and sunscreen use, with Tanner stage being the only significant independent predictor.

Conclusions: A significant inverse association between serum 25(OH)D and adiposity was observed in a population of pre- and early adolescents. This relationship was stronger in early adolescents. A meta-analysis to further explore this association in pediatric populations is warranted.