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Nutrients 2016, 8(11), 718;

What Do People Know and Believe about Vitamin D?

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
Department of Physiology, Necker Hospital, Inserm U845, 75015 Paris, France
Computer Science Laboratory, François Rabelais University, 37000 Tours, France
Dermatology Department, Saint André Hospital, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Public Health Department, Avicenne Hospital, 93000 Bobigny, France
Dermatology Department, Henri Mondor Hospital, 94010 Créteil, France
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
Full-Text   |   PDF [266 KB, uploaded 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
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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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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