Vitamin D deficiency putting young people in Hong Kong at greater risk of cardiometabolic disease

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers found that 72% had vitamin D deficiency, with 6.6% severely deficient. © iStock
Researchers found that 72% had vitamin D deficiency, with 6.6% severely deficient. © iStock

Related tags: Vitamin d deficiency, Epidemiology

Public health strategies for increasing vitamin D intake among young people are urgently needed in Hong Kong, claim researchers, after a new study found widespread deficiency and an association with cardiometabolic disease risk factors.

Researchers in Hong Kong said that while vitamin D deficiency is reportedly common in the region, data from young adults was lacking.

They said such information was of interest because epidemiological data support vitamin D as a possible risk modulator for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“Our objectives were to assess vitamin D status (as plasma 25(OH)D concentration) and investigate associations between this and biomarkers of cardiometabolic disease risk in a group of still-healthy young adults in Hong Kong,”​ they wrote in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

They collected blood samples for 196 people (63 males, 133 females), aged 18-26 years. All were non-smokers, not obese and in general good health.

Plasma 25(OH)D was measured, while  panel of established cardiometabolic risk factors (HbA1c, plasma glucose, lipid profile, hsCRP) and blood pressure were also measured.

They found that 72% had vitamin D deficiency, with 6.6% severely deficient. They also found an nverse association between 25(OH)D and fasting glucose, while higher HbA1c and TC:HDL-C ratio and lower HDL-C were seen in those deemed to be severely deficient.

Public health implications

“These figures are alarming given the strong association reported between poor vitamin D status and non-communicable disease risk,”​ wrote the researchers.

“Furthermore, we saw evidence of small but potentially important changes in cardiometabolic profile in association with vitamin D deficiency in these still-healthy young subjects, regardless of gender.”

“The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in young adults and its links, even if weak, to a poorer cardiometabolic risk profile have important implications for planning and implementation of public health strategies to address this ‘epidemic’ of what is an easily correctable deficiency, and for promotion of healthy aging through nutritional and lifestyle choices.”

They concluded that the data provides support for further investigations into vitamin D deficiency as a possible and, importantly, a modifiable risk factor for cardiometabolic disease, while also highlighting the urgent need for public health strategies to address the ‘epidemic’ of vitamin D deficiency, especially among young people in Hong Kong.

Source: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition

2018;27(1):231-237

"Vitamin D status and cardiometabolic risk factors in young adults in Hong Kong: associations and implications"

Authors: Erica Wei-lan Wang, et al.

Related topics: Nutrition

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