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Socioeconomic health inequalities are an important global public health problem. However, it is not well known to what extent socioeconomic inequalities culminate in impaired vitamin status and whether this is mediated by diet. We, therefore, aimed to assess vitamin status in a population already at increased risk of micronutrient deficiency, i.e., elderly with high and low socioeconomic status (SES), and to investigate whether potential differences therein were mediated by diet quality. Vitamin status in 1605 individuals (60-75 years) from the Lifelines- Micronutrients and Health inequalities in Elderly (MINUTHE) Study was assessed by measuring folic acid and the vitamins B6, B12, D, A, E, and K. Multinomial logistic and linear regression analyses were applied to test the associations between SES and vitamin status. Mediation analysis was used to explore the interrelationship between SES, diet quality, and vitamin status. Low SES was associated with poorer status of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and, notably, folic acid. Moreover, multivitamin deficiencies were more prevalent in the low SES group. Diet quality was found to mediate the associations of SES with folic acid (for 39.1%), vitamin B6 (for 37.1%), and vitamin B12 (for 37.2%). We conclude that low SES is a risk factor for a spectrum of vitamin deficiencies. Diet quality can partially explain the socioeconomic differences in vitamin status, suggesting that policymakers can mitigate socioeconomic inequality in nutritional status through improving diet quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2659
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages16
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2020

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