Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and physical function in older adults: The cardiovascular health study all stars

Denise K. Houston, Janet A. Tooze, Cralen C. Davis, Paulo H M Chaves, Calvin H Hirsch, John A Robbins, Alice M. Arnold, Anne B. Newman, Stephen B. Kritchevsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations


Objectives To examine the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and physical function in adults of advanced age. Design Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of physical function over 3 years of follow-up in the Cardiovascular Health Study All Stars. Setting Forsyth County, North Carolina; Sacramento County, California; Washington County, Maryland; and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Participants Community-dwelling adults aged 77 to 100 (N = 988). Measurements Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D 25(OH)D), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and grip and knee extensor strength assessed at baseline. Mobility disability (difficulty walking half a mile or up 10 steps) and activities of daily living (ADLs) disability were assessed at baseline and every 6 months over 3 years of follow-up. Results Almost one-third (30.8%) of participants were deficient in 25(OH)D (<20 ng/mL). SPPB scores were lower in those with deficient 25(OH)D (mean (standard error) 6.53 (0.24)) than in those with sufficient 25(OH)D (≥30 ng/mL) (7.15 (0.25)) after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, season, health behaviors, and chronic conditions (P =.006). Grip strength adjusted for body size was also lower in those with deficient 25(OH)D than in those with sufficient 25(OH)D (24.7 (0.6) kg vs 26.0 (0.6) kg, P =.02). Participants with deficient 25(OH)D were more likely to have prevalent mobility (OR = 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI)) = 0.96-2.14) and ADL disability (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.01-2.25) at baseline than those with sufficient 25(OH)D. Furthermore, participants with deficient 25(OH)D were at greater risk of incident mobility disability over 3 years of follow-up (hazard ratio = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.06-2.30). Conclusion Vitamin D deficiency was common and was associated with poorer physical performance, lower muscle strength, and prevalent mobility and ADL disability in community-dwelling older adults. Moreover, vitamin D deficiency predicted incident mobility disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1793-1801
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011



  • ADL disability
  • mobility disability
  • muscle strength
  • physical performance
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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