Type E – Janicke Visser – Determinants of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Healthy Young Adults Living in the Western Cape, South Africa
A travel grant was awarded to Janicke Visser from the Division of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University to attend and present a poster at the ESPEN (European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism) Congress in Madrid, Spain from 1 to 4 September 2018.
The major areas of study and how the visit have contributed to the understanding and/or management of cancer
Determinants of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in healthy young adults living in the Western Cape, South Africa
J Visser,1 K Knight,1 L Philips,1 W Visser,2 M Wallace,3 R Blaauw1
1 Division of Human Nutrition, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
2 Division of Dermatology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
3 Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)
Rationale: The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is fast emerging as a global pandemic. In South Africa few studies have been conducted to determine the vitamin D status of the healthy population.
Methods: This cross-sectional phase of a larger study investigated vitamin D status of healthy, undergraduate students (20.41±2.29 years old) at Stellenbosch University. Data collected included serum 25(OH)D (Institute of Medicine interpretation), anthropometry, dietary vitamin D intake (food-frequency questionnaire), skin tone (Fitzpatrick Skin Type Classification), and skin reflectometry (to measure dermal melanin content). Summary statistics, analysis of variance and non-parametric methods were used.
Results: Results of the 242 students indicated a mean serum 25(OH)D of 63.80±41.35 ng/ml and a high prevalence of vitamin D sufficiency (90%). Significantly more females experienced suboptimal vitamin D levels than males (18 vs. 5%; p<0.01). Participants with lighter skin tones had higher levels of 25(OH)D than those with darker skin tones (Chi2=24.02; p=0.02). The majority (60.74%) had normal BMIs, although the relationship between BMI and serum 25(OH)D was not significant (Spearman’s r=-0.11; p=0.09). Total mean dietary vitamin D intake was 7.99±13.81mcg, with 87.2% consuming inadequate intake (<15mcg). The relationship between total vitamin D intake and serum 25(OH)D was significant (Spearman r=0.14; p=0.003). Sun exposure and lifestyle factors had no effect on serum 25(OH)D levels.
Conclusion: A low prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found amongst healthy young adults, despite low dietary vitamin D intakes. Significant relationships were found between serum 25(OH)D and gender, skin tone and vitamin D intake. Further studies need to be conducted, especially in high-risk groups, before results are applied to the greater South African public.
The major areas of study and how the visit contributed to the understanding and/or management of cancer:
The ESPEN Congress is considered one of the key and most influential Congresses on the Nutrition calendar. This Congress offered the lecturer/researcher the chance to present this research, funded by CANSA on an international stage. A poster presentation was presented, and the abstract published in an international journal (Clinical Nutrition) [Visser J, Knight K, Philips L, Visser W, Wallace M, Blaauw R. Determinants of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in healthy young adults living in the Western Cape, South Africa. Clinical Nutrition 2018; 37(1): S284.] It enabled the lecturer/researcher to interact with other experts in the field and to build contacts for possible future collaborations.
In addition, the lecturer/researcher acquired new knowledge that will contribute to teaching and research activities in the field of Oncology Nutrition.
The ESPEN Congress had sessions dedicated to Oncology Nutrition, ensuring that the researcher is up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. The new GLIM (Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition) criteria for the diagnosis of malnutrition was released at the Congress, that will aid in building a global consensus around core diagnostic criteria for malnutrition in adults (including those with cancer) in clinical settings. Newly acquired knowledge will be incorporated into the various modules presented by the lecturer/researcher at tertiary level:
The lecturer/researcher presents the following (oncology related) modules at undergraduate / postgraduate level:
Undergraduate – Course: BSc Dietetics; Module: Oncology Nutrition
Postgraduate – Course: Master of Therapeutic Nutrition; Module: Oncology Nutrition
Postgraduate – Course: MPhil in Cancer Science (presented by the African Cancer Institute at Stellenbosch University); Module: Nutrition and Cancer
The Congress has led to novel ideas for future research projects.