The Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and the Determinants of 25(OH)D Concentration in Older Irish Adults: Data From The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Eamon Laird
  • Aisling O'Halloran
  • Deirdre O'Connor
  • Tom Shannon
  • Anne Molloy

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
  • The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
  • The Department of Biochemistry & Clinical Pathology, St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
  • School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.


Background Few data are available examining the determinants of vitamin D status exclusively in older adults. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and determinants of vitamin D deficiency in a representative sample of the older Irish population (aged 50–98 years).MethodsThe concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured in 5,356 community-dwelling older Irish adults from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Detailed demographic, geographic, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors were assessed by questionnaire. Proportions of deficiency prevalence were generated by season sampled. Linear regression was used to investigate the association between 25(OH)D concentration and reported risk factors.ResultsThe prevalence of deficiency (25(OH)D < 30 nmol/L) was 13.1% (95% CI: 12.1–14.2). Deficiency status was more prevalent in nonsupplement users, in winter, in smokers, in obese adults, the physically inactive, those living alone, and in the oldest old (>80 years). The main predictors (p < .05) of 25(OH)D concentration were supplement use (coefficient nmol/L: 27.2 [95% CI: 15.3–39.2]), smoking (−8.9 [−12.6–−5.2]), summer season (5.9 [2.7–9.1]), and obesity (−4.0 [−6.3–−1.7]).ConclusionVitamin D deficiency is common among older Irish adults. These data indicate the need for targeted strategies within sections of the older population to improve vitamin D status.


Original languageEnglish
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences
Early online date2 Sep 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sep 2017


  • Vitamin D, Nutrition, Epidemiology, Geo-mapping