Objectives To evaluate the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D insufficiency (VDI) in children In Great Britain. Design A nationally representative cross-sectional study survey of children (1102) aged 4–18 years (999 white, 570 male) living in private households (January 1997–1998). Interventions provided information about dietary habits, physical activity, socio-demographics, and blood sample. Outcome measures were vitamin D insufficiency (2.5 hours of TV/day/week (OR = 1.6[95%CI 1.0–2.4]). Conclusion We confirm a previously under-recognised risk of VDI in adolescents. The marked higher risk for VDI in non-white children suggests they should be targeted in any preventative strategies. The association of higher risk of VDI among children who exercised less outdoors, watched more TV and were overweight highlights potentially modifiable risk factors. Clearer guidelines and an increased awareness especially in adolescents are needed, as there are no recommendations for vitamin D supplementation in older children.