Vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility among severely obese people

April 15, 2014

Among severely obese people, vitamin D may make the difference between an active and a more sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

The study found severely obese people who also were D-deficient walked slower and were less active overall than their counterparts who had healthy vitamin D levels. Poor physical functioning can reduce quality of life and even shorten lifespans.

Severe obesity occurs when a person's body mass index (BMI) exceeds 40. About 6.5 percent of American adults are severely obese.

"People with already are eight times more likely to have poor physical function than people with a healthy BMI," said one of the study's authors, Tomás Ahern, MB, BCh, BAO, of St. Columcille's Hospital and St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. "Poor vitamin D status contributes to the deterioration of physical function in this population. Among those with severe obesity, 43 percent are at risk of vitamin D deficiency."

The cross-sectional study examined physical functioning and vitamin D levels in 252 severely . Participants were timed as they walked 500 meters and climbed up and down a single step 50 times. They also provided estimates of their physical activity.

Researchers took a blood sample to measure each participant's vitamin D levels. For analysis, the study population was divided into three groups based on vitamin D levels.

The study found the group with the highest vitamin D levels had the fastest walking times and highest amount of self-reported physical activity. This group also had the lowest average BMI of the study participants.

"Improving vitamin D status should improve quality of life and may decrease the risk of early death in people with severe obesity," Ahern said. "This could be a simple matter of spending more time outside, since sun exposure can boost the body's natural vitamin D production."

More information: The study, "Association between Vitamin D Status and Physical Function in the Severely Obese," was published online, ahead of print.

Related Stories

Obesity leads to vitamin D deficiency

February 5, 2013

Obesity can lead to a lack of vitamin D circulating in the body, according to a study led by the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH). Efforts to tackle obesity should thus also help to reduce levels of vitamin D deficiency ...

Can citrus ward off your risk of stroke?

February 14, 2014

Eating foods that contain vitamin C may reduce your risk of the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting ...

Vitamin D deficiency may compromise immune function

February 25, 2014

Older individuals who are vitamin D deficient also tend to have compromised immune function, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Fewer children at risk for deficient vitamin D

March 25, 2014

Under new guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, the estimated number of children who are at risk for having insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D is drastically reduced from previous estimates, according to a ...

Recommended for you

Can a new drug brown the fat and trim the obese person?

May 28, 2015

New research has found that a variant of a drug used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension prompts weight loss in obese mice. Among mice fed a high-fat diet, those who did not get the medication became obese while medicated ...

Changing stem cell structure may help fight obesity

February 17, 2015

The research, conducted at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), found that a slight regulation in the length of primary cilia, small hair-like projections found on most cells, prevented the production of fat cells from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.