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Open AccessArticle

What Do People Know and Believe about Vitamin D?

1
Sorbonne Paris Cité Epidemiology and Statistics Research Center (CRESS), Inserm U1153, Inra U1125, Cnam, Paris 13 University, Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), 93017 Bobigny, France
2
Department of Physiology, Necker Hospital, Inserm U845, 75015 Paris, France
3
Computer Science Laboratory, François Rabelais University, 37000 Tours, France
4
Dermatology Department, Saint André Hospital, 33000 Bordeaux, France
5
Public Health Department, Avicenne Hospital, 93000 Bobigny, France
6
Dermatology Department, Henri Mondor Hospital, 94010 Créteil, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nutrients 2016, 8(11), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8110718
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
People have been exposed to a lot of information regarding vitamin D, with evidence suggesting that vitamin D may be involved in numerous health conditions, subsequently creating concerns about vitamin D insufficiency. As a result, what do people really know or believe about this topic? In this cross-sectional study, we assessed vitamin D-related knowledge and beliefs in 59,273 French adults (NutriNet-Santé cohort) using a specific questionnaire. Answers to this questionnaire were weighted according to the French sociodemographic distribution and compared across individual characteristics, using χ2-tests. Physicians and media were identified as key information providers. Participants did not always accurately cite vitamin D sources (e.g., 72% only for sun exposure, fatty fish: 61%) or established health effects (e.g., bone health: 62%–78%). Conversely, they mentioned incorrect sources and health effects for which there is no consensus yet (e.g., skin cancer). These findings were modulated by age/generational and socioeconomic factors. A strong inconsistency was also observed between participants’ true vitamin D status (plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and their opinion about it. This study, the first in Europe with such a large sample, stresses the need for simple and up-to-date supports of communication for the public and healthcare professionals regarding sources and health effects of vitamin D. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; knowledge; population-based study; vitamin D status; beliefs vitamin D; knowledge; population-based study; vitamin D status; beliefs
MDPI and ACS Style

Deschasaux, M.; Souberbielle, J.-C.; Partula, V.; Lécuyer, L.; Gonzalez, R.; Srour, B.; Guinot, C.; Malvy, D.; Latino-Martel, P.; Druesne-Pecollo, N.; Galan, P.; Hercberg, S.; Kesse-Guyot, E.; Fassier, P.; Ezzedine, K.; Touvier, M. What Do People Know and Believe about Vitamin D? Nutrients 2016, 8, 718.

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