To report the vitamin D status in adults from seven European countries and to identify behavioural correlates.
In total, 1075 eligible adult men and women from Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Greece, UK, Poland and Germany, were included in the study.
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, defined as 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25-OHD3) concentration of <30 and 30–49.9 nmol/L, respectively, were observed in 3.3 and 30.6% of the participants. The highest prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found in the UK and the lowest in the Netherlands (8.2 vs. 1.1%, P < 0.05). In addition, the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was higher in females compared with males (36.6 vs. 22.6%, P < 0.001), in winter compared with summer months (39.3 vs. 25.0%, P < 0.05) and in younger compared with older participants (36.0 vs. 24.4%, P < 0.05). Positive dose–response associations were also observed between 25-OHD3 concentrations and dietary vitamin D intake from foods and supplements, as well as with physical activity (PA) levels. Vitamin D intakes of ≥5 μg/day from foods and ≥5 μg/day from supplements, as well as engagement in ≥30 min/day of moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA were associated with higher odds (P < 0.05) for maintaining sufficient (≥50 nmol/L) 25-OHD3 concentrations.
The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency varied considerably among European adults. Dietary intakes of ≥10 μg/day of vitamin D from foods and/or supplements and at least 30 min/day of moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA were the minimum thresholds associated with vitamin D sufficiency.