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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded




Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women in the world, affecting 10% of women aged 60, 20% of women aged 70, 40% of women aged 80 and 67% of women aged 90. Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone density and increases the risk for fractured bones; however, it may be prevented with modifiable factors such as supplements, diet, and physical activity. Vitamin D deficiency leads to bone mineral density loss, as Vitamin D3 is responsible for calcium absorption into the bones. Bone consolidation is believed to occur between 20 and 30 years old; thus, attaining peak bone mass is critical during pre-menopause.


The relationship between vitamin D and bone mineral density has predominately been studied in postmenopausal populations. Therefore, we examined this association among 18-30 year old participants (n=271) in the cross-sectional UMass Vitamin D Status Study. The modified version of the Harvard Food Frequency Questionnaire was used to assess the average intake of vitamin D foods and supplements. Serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations were assayed from blood samples. Bone mineral content and bone area were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan. Bone mineral content (BMC), as measured in grams, provides a measure of bone mass. Bone area (BA), as measured in cm2, reflects a two-dimensional area, which is characterized by the periphery of a bone region. We used multivariable linear regression to model the relationship between bone mineral density and bone area with sources of vitamin D after adjusting for dietary and lifestyle factors.


In the present study, the mean and standard deviation of vitamin D is 372.7 IU and 285.8 IU, respectively. For vitamin D from supplements, the mean is 140.9 IU with a standard deviation of 232.3 IU. Finally, for vitamin D from food, the mean is 231.8 IU with a standard deviation of 182.0 IU. Compared to reference values of 600 IU, these data are below the recommended daily allowance.

We did not observe an association between total vitamin D or vitamin D from foods sources with either BMC or BA. We also did not observe an association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and BMC or BA.


Future studies with larger sample sizes are warranted to validate this association among young premenopausal women.


First Advisor

Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson

Second Advisor

Marquis Hawkins

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Public Health Commons