PhD defence - Rikke A. Petersen

Frontpage of thesisRikke A. Petersen is defending her PhD thesis

Vitamin D status in Danish children

Determinants, effects of school meals, and associations with cardio-metabolic markers


2 May 2014 at 13:00


Auditoruim A2-70.04, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C.


Associate Professor Susanne Bügel (chair), Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Professor Susan Lanham-New, School of Biosciences and Medicine, University of Surrey, United Kingdom

Senior Researcher Anja Olsen, Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Unit of Paediatric and International Nutrition, Denmark


Associate Professor Christian Mølgaard, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Assistant Professor Camilla Trab Damsgaard, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

About the thesis

A principal function of vitamin D is facilitation of intestinal calcium absorption and maintenance of calcium homeostasis. This is essential to several functions in the body, and vitamin D is believed to be particularly crucial during childhood growth as the requirement for calcium increases. In addition to skeletal health, vitamin D has also been associated with several extra-skeletal conditions including cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.

Evaluation of Vitamin D status is complex because it is modified by several factors and because the level of optimal vitamin D concentration is uncertain. The primary source of vitamin D in humans is believed to be the synthesis that occurs in the skin upon sun exposure while intake from diet, supplements, and potential fortified foods are secondary sources. Yet, synthesis of vitamin D from sun exposure is negligible during winter at northern latitudes such as Denmark and low winter concentrations have been observed in Danish children. Also, very few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D and little is known on the effect of dietary vitamin D on children’s vitamin D status.

The overall aim of this PhD project was to investigate aspects of Danish children’s vitamin D status with regard to sufficiency level, possibilities to improve status, and whether status is associated with cardio-metabolic markers. The project is based on data from the OPUS (Optimal well-being, development and health for Danish children through a healthy New Nordic Diet (NND)) School Meal Study, a large controlled cross-over trial that investigated the impact of NND school meals on dietary intake, nutrient status, etc., in more than 800 eight-to-eleven year-old children.

Download Summary; Sammendrag; List of papers; List of contents; Motivation of the subject area.

2014, 144 pages, ISBN 978 87 7611 735 1