Skip to main content

25-Hydroxyvitamin D supplementation and health-service utilization for upper respiratory tract infection in young children

Omand JA, To T, O'Connor DL, Parkin PC, Birken CS, Thorpe KE, Maguire JL. Public Health Nutr. 2017; 20(10):1816-24. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

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.

View full text

Keywords: Respiratory diseases Health care utilization Pediatric health Diet and nutrition