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April 13, 2021

The USPSTF 2021 Recommendations on Screening for Asymptomatic Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults: The Challenge for Clinicians Continues

Author Affiliations
  • 1Endocrine Division, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 2Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA
JAMA. 2021;325(14):1401-1402. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.2227

Interest in the relationship between vitamin D and health has increased over the past decade, with concurrent increases in the number of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) assays performed and in the use of vitamin D supplements.1,2 In 2011, the National Academy of Medicine determined that a 25(OH)D level less than 20 ng/mL (49.9 nmol/L) was consistent with deficiency and that there was no evidence for different 25(OH)D thresholds for different health conditions.3 This recommendation resulted in vigorous debate within the medical and scientific community regarding the merits of screening for vitamin D deficiency and the goal 25(OH)D levels in healthy persons as well as those with certain chronic conditions.4 In the 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an estimated 25% of the US population was vitamin D deficient, with 5% of individuals 1 year or older with 25(OH)D levels less than 12 ng/mL and 18% with 25(OH)D levels between 12 and 19 ng/mL.5