The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and relationship with fracture risk in older women presenting in Australian general practice


  • Conflicts of interest: Dr Andrew Weekes and Dr Alfred Lanzafame are employees of Servier Laboratories Australia.

Professor Susan R Davis, Women's Health Research Program, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. Email:


Aim:  To investigate vitamin D status among older women and to explore relationships between vitamin D and fracture risk and vertebral fractures.

Methods:  A total of 267 general practitioners recruited 2466 women aged >70 years with no known osteoporosis or fragility fracture. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D), bone mineral density by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and vertebral fracture on thoracolumbar X-ray were determined.

Results:  A total of 2368 women, median age 76 years, provided data and of these 13% were on vitamin D supplements. 25(OH)D levels were available for 907 (44.1%) of those not taking vitamin D. 88.3% of these had a level below 75 nmol/L. Serum 25(OH)D was negatively associated with age (P = 0.003) and body mass index (P < 0.001), and positively associated with lower latitude, femoral neck DXA T-score (P = 0.044) and being Caucasian (P < 0.001).

Conclusions:  The vitamin D status of community-dwelling older Australian women is inadequate, yet the use of supplements is low.