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Abdominal obesity is an independent predictor of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency in adults with cerebral palsy

Mark D Peterson*, Heidi J Haapala, Ashish Chaddha and Edward A Hurvitz

Author Affiliations

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan Health Systems, 325 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 300, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108, USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2014, 11:22  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-22

Published: 19 May 2014



Individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) are at risk for nutritional insufficiency. The purpose of the study was to examine the vitamin D status of adults with CP, and to evaluate the association between vitamin D and functional level, age, race, and anthropometric indicators of adiposity.


Serum vitamin D levels, BMI, waist circumference (WC), and functional level (measured by Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS)) were examined in 112 adults with CP. Vitamin D status was assessed by serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level (25(OH)D). The influence of motor impairment and adiposity on 25(OH)D were assessed using general linear modeling and logistic regression, with age, sex, race, and season as covariates.


Mean vitamin D was 28.1 ± 16.0 ng/ml. Only 45% of subjects had optimal levels of 25(OH)D, 21% were insufficient and 34% were deficient. Overweight or obesity was prevalent (52%), as was abdominal obesity in men (23.5% at 102 cm cutoff) and women (31.1% at 88 cm cutoff). There was a robust association between the indicator of visceral adiposity (WC) and 25(OH)D level (p <0.001), even after controlling for age, sex, race, season, and GMFCS. According to sex-specific WC cutoffs, the odds of being deficient in vitamin D increase by a factor of 3.5 (95% CI 1.12-11.0) for abdominal obesity. GMFCS was not associated with 25(OH)D.


Adults with CP are at risk for low vitamin D levels and overweight/obesity. Waist circumference is a strong independent predictor for low vitamin D levels.

Cerebral palsy; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; Visceral adiposity; Motor function