BACKGROUND: Vitamin D may have a role in many chronic conditions in addition to bone health. Nutritional surveys among Americans have reported high levels of vitamin D insufficiency, especially among Blacks and Latinos. Our study examined variation in vitamin D supplementation practices in an adult health plan population by age, gender, and race-ethnicity. METHODS: Self-report data from a 2008 general health survey in a large Northern California health plan were used to characterize number and types of sources of vitamin D supplementation (multivitamin, calcium with D, singular D) among women and men aged 25-85, overall, by race-ethnicity, and for obese, diabetic, and hypertensive subgroups. RESULTS: In this population, 40% of women and 54% of men = 50, and 24% of women and 53% of men aged 51-85 get no vitamin D from dietary supplements. Higher vitamin D supplementation among women > 50 is associated with higher reported intake of calcium with D. Black and Latina women aged 25-85 and Filipinas in the = 50 age group were significantly less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to get vitamin D from supplements, whereas vitamin D supplementation practices among Chinese women did not significantly differ from non-Hispanic Whites. Among men, Latinos aged 25-85 and Black and Chinese = 50 were significantly less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to get vitamin D from supplements. Similar race-ethnic differences in vitamin D supplementation patterns were observed for people in the obese, diabetic, and hypertensive groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our survey results suggest that in 2008, a large percentage of women and an even larger percentage of men in a large Northern California health plan get no vitamin D from dietary supplements, and that Blacks and Latinos and obese adults, who are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, are also the least likely to get any vitamin D from dietary supplements.