Very high prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency in 6433 UK South Asian adults: Analysis of the UK Biobank Cohort

Andrea L. Darling*, David J. Blackbourn, Kourosh R. Ahmadi, Susan A. Lanham-New

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Little research has assessed serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration and its predictors in Western-dwelling South Asians in a relatively large sample size. This observational, cross-sectional analysis assessed baseline prevalence of 25(OH)D deficiency in UK-dwelling South Asians (aged 40-69 years, 2006-2010) from the UK Biobank Cohort. Serum 25(OH)D measurements were undertaken using the DiaSorin Liaison XL assay. Of 6433 South Asians with a 25(OH)D measurement, using commonly used cut-off thresholds, 55 % (n 3538) had 25(OH)D < 25 nmol/l (severe deficiency) and 92 % (n 5918) had 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/l (insufficiency). Of the participants with a measurement, 20 % (n 1287) had 25(OH)D concentration <15 nmol/l (very severe deficiency). When 824 participants with undetectable (<10 nmol/l) 25(OH)D measurements were included (total n 7257), 29 % (n 2105) had 25(OH)D < 15 nmol/l, 60 % (n 4354) had 25(OH)D < 25 nmol/l and 93 % (n 6749) had 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/l. Logistic regression predictors of 25(OH)D < 25 nmol/l included the following characteristics: being male; Pakistani; higher BMI; 40-59 years old; never consuming oily fish; summer sun exposure <5 h/d, not using a vitamin D-containing supplement, measurement in winter or spring and vegetarianism. In terms of region, median 25(OH)D concentration was 19-20 nmol/l in Scotland, Northern England, the Midlands and Wales. Across Southern England and London, it was slightly higher at 24-25 nmol/l. Our analyses suggest the need for increased awareness of vitamin D deficiency in South Asians as well as urgent public health interventions to prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-459
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2021


  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D
  • Cohort studies
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethnicity


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