Is vitamin D deficiency in obese youth a risk factor for less weight loss during a weight loss program?

in Endocrine Connections
Correspondence: Karolien Van De Maele, Email:

Background: Vitamin D deficiency is common in obese adolescents and a risk factor for insulin resistance. We investigated if prevailing serum 25-OH vitamin D might predict the body fat loss in a group of obese adolescents undergoing a residential weight loss program.

Methods: In 92 (35 male) obese adolescents (aged 10.6 to 19 years) undergoing a residential weight loss program in Belgium, fasting serum 25-OH vitamin D (25-OH-D), insulin, glucose and lipid levels were measured and body composition was assessed by Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA).

Results: Baseline median (range) serum 25-OH-D level was 17.7 µg/L (3.8 - 41.8). In total, 55 adolescents had a serum 25-OH-D below 20 µg/L. In 31 adolescents with a low baseline 25-OH-D level, median increase in serum 25-OH-D was 2.4 µg/L (-4.2 - 7.2) after 10 months. This resulted in normal 25-OH-D levels in seven adolescents, whereas median BMI decreased with 1.0 SDS and body fat percentage diminished with 9.9%. Obese adolescents with or without a 25-OH-D level below or above 20 µg/L at baseline had similar changes in body weight, BMI SDS, body fat percentage and body fat mass at the end of the program. The change in serum 25-OH-D did not correlate with change in serum insulin, BMI SDS or body fat percentage and body fat mass.

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency was present in 55 out of 92 obese adolescents at the start of the summer. Serum 25-OH-D concentration did not predict changes in body fat loss after a residential weight loss program.

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     European Society of Endocrinology

     Society for Endocrinology

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