Consultant, Health Sciences Research
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
There is continued interest in the role of vitamin D insufficiency (hypovitaminosis D) as a risk factor for a variety of human diseases. Unfortunately, while evidence continues to mount regarding the beneficial effects of maintaining adequate circulating levels of vitamin D, there has been a parallel rise in the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in the U.S. population, particularly among African Americans (AA). Indeed, while differences by age and sex have equalized, notable disparities in the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among AAs have persisted. Accordingly, we must continue efforts to understand hypovitaminosis D in the AA community, explore factors that affect vitamin D levels in AAs and examine the relationship between hypovitaminosis D and a variety of disease/genetic conditions common in this population. To being to address this need and simultaneously establish a partnership with the AA community in Jacksonville, we conducted a pilot study in which we observed a high level of awareness of the health benefits of vitamin D but a corresponding high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (< 25 ng/mL; 67%) and deficiency (< 15 ng/mL; 27%). Based on the success of this pilot study, we propose to conduct a larger community outreach effort that will provide more education about vitamin D, obtain a more robust estimate of the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in this community, explore factors associated with hypovitaminosis D and assess for the first time the association between hypovitaminosis D and the t(14:18) translocation which has been related to cancer outcomes in AAs.