The relationship of 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and individual-level socioeconomic status

Tom D. Thacher, Daniel V. Dudenkov, Kristin C. Mara, Julie A. Maxson, Chung Il Wi, Young J. Juhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Socioeconomic status (SES), defined as the ability to access desired resources, is associated with behaviors that may affect vitamin D status. Most studies of the effect of vitamin D status on outcomes do not account for individual-level SES. The ability to adjust for SES in epidemiologic studies, when data on conventional SES measures have not been obtained, would be advantageous. We identified all serum 25(OH)D measurements in adults age 18 years and older residing in Olmsted County, MN, a mixed urban-rural setting, between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2011, through the Rochester Epidemiology Project. The first 25(OH)D measurement was considered the index measurement for each subject. SES was determined for each subject by the HOUsing-based SocioEconomic Status (HOUSES) index, derived from real property data. The HOUSES index is an aggregated z-score of assessed housing value, area of living space, number of bedrooms, and number of bathrooms, with higher scores indicating higher SES. Multivariable analyses were adjusted for age, BMI, sex, race, season of 25(OH)D measurement, and Charlson comorbidity index. HOUSES was matched for 10,378 of 11,002 subjects (94 %) with 25(OH)D measurements available. The mean (SD) age was 54.3 (17.1) years with 26.9 % ≥65 years; 77.3 % were women, and 12.1 % were non-white. The mean 25(OH)D concentration was 30.0 (12.9) ng/mL, and 598 (5.8 %) had a 25(OH)D value <12 ng/mL. The mean (SD) HOUSES was -1.55 (3.09),-0.97 (3.34), 0.14 (3.52), 0.24 (3.51) for serum 25(OH)D categories of <12, 12–19, 20–50, and >50 ng/mL, respectively (P = 0.12 for trend). 25(OH)D increased by 0.43 (95 % CI 0.36-0.50) ng/mL for each unit increase in HOUSES in univariate analysis and by 0.28 (0.21-0.35; P < 0.001) ng/mL in multivariable analysis. This represents a change of 4 ng/mL across the entire range of observed HOUSES, an effect similar in magnitude to the seasonal variation of 25(OH)D values. SES was independently associated with serum 25(OH)D concentrations in a dose-response manner after adjustment for important covariates. HOUSES is a useful tool to assess the role of individual-level SES in health outcomes when other SES measures are unavailable and to control for confounding by SES in examining the effect of 25(OH)D on clinical and metabolic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105545
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Epidemiology
  • Health disparities
  • Mortality
  • Nutrition
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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