Fetal vitamin D concentration and growth, adiposity and neurodevelopment during infancy



To determine the association between cord blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration with growth, adiposity and neurodevelopment during infancy.


Serum 25(OH)D was measured in cord blood by the liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) from the Shanghai’s “Allergy and Obesity Cohort study” (n = 1244). Weight, length, head circumference, and body mass index (BMI) z-scores for age were calculated based on World Health Organization Standard (at 6 months, 1 years, and 2 years). Neurodevelopment was measured at 2 years using Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Generalized estimating equation and multivariable logistic regression model were exploited to examine associations between fetal 25(OH)D concentration and offspring outcomes.


The median of the 25(OH)D concentration in cord blood was 22.4 ng/ml (interquartile range, 27.3–8.6). Infants born in winter had lower 25(OH)D concentration. 25(OH)D deficiency was not associated with weight z-score (mean difference, 0.07; 95% confidence internal (CI), −0.09 to 0.23), length z-score (mean difference, 0.01; 95% CI, −0.19 to 0.21), head circumference z-score (mean difference, −0.06; 95% CI, −0.27 to 0.15) and BMI z-score (mean difference, 0.09; 95% CI, −0.07 to 0.25) or neurodevelopment during infancy, adjusting for sex, socio-economic position, pre-pregnancy maternal BMI, and maternal and neonatal characteristics. The associations did not vary by gender. A sensitivity analysis of available case analysis showed virtually the same results.


Fetal vitamin D concentration was not associated with growth, adiposity or neurodevelopment during infancy. The role of vitamin D concentration and its mechanistic pathway in the early origins of adiposity needs to be clarified.

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We thank our colleagues at Xinhua Hospital and the International Peace Maternal and Child health Hospital for their assistance and collaboration. Funding sources: This work was supported by the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (No.81373004; No. 81372954; No. 81673178) and the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission (14XD1403300).

Author information




HW and XDY preformed the literature review, accomplished the statistical analysis and wrote the drafted of the manuscript. LSH, QC, FXO, and XW contributed to analysis of the data, revise the paper critically. Zhang is the guarantor. He developed the hypothesis in the study, guided the strategy in the analysis procedure and supervised the draft of the paper. All authors have approved the final version of the manuscript.


The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

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Correspondence to J Zhang.

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H Wang and X.D Yu contributed equally to this work.

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Wang, H., Yu, X.D., Huang, L.S. et al. Fetal vitamin D concentration and growth, adiposity and neurodevelopment during infancy. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 1396–1403 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-017-0075-9

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