Objective — Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are the most common and costly condition of childhood. Low vitamin D levels have been hypothesized as a risk factor for URTI. The primary objective was to determine if serum vitamin D levels were associated with health-service utilization (HSU) for URTI including hospital admission, emergency department visits and outpatient sick visits. The secondary objectives were to determine whether oral vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy or childhood was associated with HSU for URTI.
Design — Cohort study. HSU was determined by linking each child's provincial health insurance number to health administrative databases. Multivariable quasi Poisson regression was used to evaluate the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D, vitamin D supplementation and HSU for URTI.
Setting — Toronto, Canada.
Subjects — Children participating in the TARGet Kids! network between 2008 and 2013.
Results — Healthy children aged 0-5 years (n 4962) were included; 52 % were male and mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 84 nmol/l (range 11-355 nmol/l). There were 105 (2 %), 721 (15 %) and 3218 (65 %) children with at least one hospital admission, emergency department visit or outpatient sick visit for URTI, respectively. There were no statistically significant associations between 25-hydroxyvitamin D or vitamin D supplementation and HSU for URTI.
Conclusions — A clinically meaningful association between vitamin D (continuously and dichotomized at <50 and <75 nmol/l) and HSU for URTI was not identified. While vitamin D may have other benefits for health, reducing HSU for URTI does not appear to be one of them.
Health care utilization
Diet and nutrition