Ann Clin Biochem 2006;43:468-473
doi:10.1258/000456306778904614
© 2006 Association for Clinical Biochemistry

Original Articles

Vitamin D concentrations in an UK inner-city multicultural outpatient population


Loretta Ford,
Valerie Graham,
Alan Wall and
Jonathan Berg


Clinical Biochemistry Department, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK;
Clinical Biochemistry Department, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK;
Clinical Biochemistry Department, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK;
Clinical Biochemistry Department, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is still thought to be widespread in the UK and in recent years the number of cases of rickets reported in children has increased. In this study, the distribution of vitamin D and the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency have been determined for a multi-ethnic population from the inner-city area of Birmingham, UK, where a vitamin D testing service has been readily available for over 10 years.

Methods: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration was determined using an automated platform (Nichol’s Advantage Speciality System) for 830 outpatient samples collected randomly at the end of summer (September).

Results: In our total study population, prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, defined as a 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration < 10 µg/L, was high (24%): one in eight Caucasians, one in four Black Afro-Caribbeans and one in three Asians were found to be deficient. Levels of deficiency were much higher in Asian women, with almost one in two individuals (43%) found to have a vitamin D level below 10 µg/L.

Conclusion: Our study has shown that widespread vitamin D deficiency in a UK inner-city population remains an issue. In concordance with other studies, we found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Afro-Caribbean and Asians, and, in particular, women. It is clear that more routine screening of vitamin D is needed.


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