Season and ethnicity are determinants of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in New Zealand children aged 5-14 y

Jennifer E. Rockell, Timothy J. Green, C. Murray Skeaff, Susan J. Whiting, Rachael W. Taylor, Sheila M. Williams, Winsome R. Parnell, Robert Scragg, Noela Wilson, David Schaaf, Eljon D. Fitzgerald, Mark W. Wohlers

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177 Citations (Scopus)


New Zealand children, particularly those of Māori and Pacific ethnicity, may be at risk for low vitamin D status because of low vitamin D intakes, the country's latitude (35- 46°S), and skin color. The aim of this study was to determine 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and their determinants in a national sample of New Zealand children aged 5-14 y. The 2002 National Children's Nutrition Survey was designed to survey New Zealand children, including oversampling of Māori and Pacific children to allow ethnic-specific analyses. A 2-stage recruitment process occurred using a random selection of schools, and children within each school. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration [mean (99% CI) nmol/L] in Māori children (n = 456) was 43 (38,49), in Pacific (n = 646) 36 (31,42), and in New Zealand European and Others (NZEO) (n = 483) 53 (47,59). Among Māori, Pacific, and NZEO, the prevalence (%, 99% CI) of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency (<17.5 nmol/L) was 5 (2,12), 8 (5,14), and 3 (1,7), respectively. The prevalence of insufficiency (<37.5 nmol/L) was 41 (29,53), 59 (42,75), and 25 (15,35), respectively. Multiple regression analysis found that 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were lower in winter than summer [adjusted mean difference (99% CI) nmol/L; 15 (8,22)], lower in girls than boys [5 (1,10)], and lower in obese children than in those of "normal" weight [6 (1,11)]. Relative to NZEO, 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were lower in Māori [9 (3,15)] and Pacific children [16 (10,22)]. Ethnicity and season are major determinants of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. There is a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in New Zealand children, which may or may not contribute to increased risk of osteoporosis and other chronic disease. There is a pressing need for more convincing evidence concerning the health risks associated with the low vitamin D status in New Zealand children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2602-2608
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Children
  • Māori
  • New Zealand
  • Pacific

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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