Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research

Advancing Applied MCH Research

Seasonal and Racial Variation in Vitamin D Deficiency

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Project Number: R40 MC 03620-03
Grantee: Boston Medical Center Corp.
Department/Center: Division of General Pediatrics
Project Date: 09/01/2004

Final Report

Seasonal and Racial Variation in Vitamin D Deficiency Final Report (PDF) Exit Disclaimer

Principal Investigator

Howard Bauchner, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health
91 E. Concord Street
Boston, MA  02118
Phone: (617) 414-4232


  • Women/Maternal
  • Perinatal/Infancy (0-12 months)


  • African American
  • Hispanic/Latino


Background: Vitamin D deficiency appears to be widespread in the maternal child health population, and our pilot data suggest that more urban infants and pregnant women are deficient than has previously been suggested. Goals: This cross sectional study will examine vitamin D status in an urban population of newborns and their mothers to determine 1) Differences in vitamin D status in Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics; 2) Impact of seasonality on vitamin D levels in African American and Hispanics; 3) The effect of maternal vitamin D status on infant vitamin D status; and 4) The impact of skin color on vitamin D status. Methods: We will enroll 318 mother/newborn pairs from 3 racial/ethnic groups (Blacks/non Hispanic; Whites/non Hispanic; Hispanics) and determine vitamin D status of infants and mothers during the postpartum hospital stay. We will administer a survey to establish maternal diet history, use of prenatal vitamins, and other factors affecting vitamin D levels. Expected outcome: We anticipate that many infants and their mothers will be deficient, that race/ethnicity and season will affect level of deficiency, and that maternal and infant deficiency will be correlated. Relevance to Maternal Child Health: Our study will investigate the effect of race/ethnicity, skin color, lifestyle factors, and geography on vitamin D status and variance in newborns and their mothers. Currently the vast majority of information on vitamin D deficiency in the US comes from case studies of rickets. Our data will be of use to organizations that update dietary recommendations, and formulate national public health policy.


Listed is descending order by year published.

Merewood A, Mehta SD, Grossman X, Chen TC, Matthieu J, Holick MF, Bauchner H. Widespread vitamin D deficiency in urban Massachusetts newborns and their mothers. Pediatrics. 2010 Apr;125(4):640-7. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Merewood A, Mehta SD, Chen T, Bauchner H, Holick MF. Association between vitamin D deficiency and primary cesarean section. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Mar;94(3):940-5.


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