Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Jen D. Irwin


Vitamin D is necessary for many aspects of health and development yet 25% of Canadians are not getting enough and university-aged students are at particularly high risk of insufficiency. It seems program development is needed to help university students in acquiring adequate vitamin D. The purpose of this study was to acquire a baseline assessment of university students’ vitamin D related knowledge to help inform future program development. Subjects were asked to complete a Vitamin D Knowledge Survey which assessed knowledge on aspects such as vitamin D sources, health benefits, and recommended intake. A Vitamin D Knowledge Score was computed for the 1,088 student participants, who earned an average of 27%, indicating a significant vitamin D knowledge deficiency. Subjects scored with 25% accuracy on vitamin D source knowledge, 34% on factors affecting vitamin D levels, and 23% on health effects of vitamin D. Only 8% of participants identified the recommended vitamin D intake, and 14% correctly identified the amount of time in the sun required to produce adequate vitamin D. Results suggest that vitamin D knowledge is significantly related to age, ethnicity and area of academic study, as well as knowledge origin. Vitamin D usage is also related to vitamin D knowledge. This is the first study to date to assess the vitamin D knowledge of university students, and it is clear that those surveyed are largely unaware of this important nutrient. Potential interventions should be considered as a next step to ensure this segment of the population is acquiring adequate vitamin D.