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Vitamin D deficiencies could be making the severely obese less mobile.

A new study looking at vitamin D intake among severely obese people has determined that those deficient in this nutrient could be suffering from less mobility compared to those with more normal levels. 

The researchers evaluated 252 severely obese subjects, timing them as they first walked a total of 1,640 feet and then as they climbed up and down one step 50 times. These results, coupled with subsequent blood samples, found the people with the slowest walking times and least amount of physical activity also exhibited the lowest levels of vitamin D. 

"People with severe obesity already are eight times more likely to have poor physical function than people with a healthy [body weight]," Tomas Ahern, a member of St. Columcille's Hospital and St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin and the study's co-author, said in an official statement. "Poor vitamin D status contributes to the deterioration of physical function in this population. Among those with severe obesity, 43 percent are at risk of vitamin D deficiency."

The findings, which were published last month in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, don't definitively prove that vitamin D deficiencies result in less mobility among the severely obese — a group that 6.5 percent of all adult Americans belong to, according to the study's authors — but the data does indicate some kind of relationship between the two.

Luckily, if your body is low in vitamin D, there is plenty you can do to improve your count. Spending more time out in the sun can go a long way, as sunlight exposure bolsters the body's ability to naturally produce this nutrient. But you can also supplement your nutritional intake with D3 vitamin supplements. Click here to learn more about our vitamins D3 supplements.