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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 9, 2021

The association between vitamin D levels and metabolic syndrome components among metropolitan adolescent population

  • Yi-Xiong Gao , Jian Zhang ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Qingqing Man , Yuqian Li and Shanshan Jia



Vitamin D promotes both lipolysis and lipogenesis, and some pediatric studies showed inconsistent associations between vitamin D and metabolic syndrome (MetS). This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the association between vitamin D levels and MetS components among metropolitan adolescents.


A total of 4,149 adolescents aged 10–18 years were recruited from 23 metropolises in China. The MetS conditions were assessed according to the International Diabetes Federation consensus definition, and the serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were analyzed. The association between MetS components and serum 25(OH)D levels was analyzed by the logistic regression model. Restricted cubic spline was applied to the model nonlinear association.


Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 74.9%, and 41.2% of study participants had at least one MetS component. After adjustment, the significant trend for a lower waist-to-height ratio was not observed in study participants with higher serum 25(OH)D quartile (p=0.57), but a significant nonlinear association between abdominal obesity and serum 25(OH)D levels was found (p=0.04): the highest risk of abdominal obesity occurred at 14.1 ng/mL of serum 25(OH)D. The association of serum 25(OH)D was significantly inverse with MetS (OR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.92–0.98), but not with raised triglycerides (OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.96–1.01), raised blood pressure (OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.97–1.01) and impaired fasting glycemia (OR: 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01–1.04).


The net effect of vitamin D on lipid metabolism may be concentration-dependent, and the actual effect of vitamin D on MetS process may be complex among metropolitan adolescents, though serum 25(OH)D is inversely associated with MetS.

Corresponding author: Jian Zhang, PhD, National Institute for Nutrition and Health, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 100050, Peking, China, Phone: +86 10 66237147, E-mail:

Award Identifier / Grant number: 2016YFC1305201

Funding source: Nutrition and Health Surveillance for Children and Nursing Mothers in China 2017

Award Identifier / Grant number: 2017-021


Ms. Yuehua Hu from China CDC, Mr. Qianrang Zhu from Jiangsu CDC, and Mr. Lianlong Yu from Shandong CDC provided assistance in statistical analysis.

  1. Research funding: This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant number: 2016YFC1305201), and Nutrition and Health Surveillance for Children and Nursing Mothers in China 2017 (grant number: 2017-021).

  2. Author contributions: Y. X. G. carried out data analysis and drafted the initial article. J. Z. conceived and planned the project. Q. M., Y. L., and S. J. acquired the data and provided critical feedback to the article. All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  3. Competing interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The local Institutional Review Board deemed the study exempt from review.


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Received: 2021-07-05
Accepted: 2021-10-04
Published Online: 2021-11-09
Published in Print: 2022-01-27

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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