Vitamin D status has been associated with cardiometabolic markers even in children, but the associations may be confounded by fat mass and physical activity behaviour. This study investigated associations between vitamin D status and cardiometabolic risk profile, as well as the impact of fat mass and physical activity in Danish 8–11-year-old children, using baseline data from 782 children participating in the Optimal well-being, development and health for Danish children through a healthy New Nordic Diet (OPUS) School Meal Study. We assessed vitamin D status as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and measured blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, homoeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance, plasma lipids, inflammatory markers, anthropometry and fat mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and physical activity by 7 d accelerometry during August–November. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 60·8 ( sd18·7) nmol/l. Each 10 mmol/l 25(OH)D increase was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure (−0·3 mmHg, 95 % CI −0·6, −0·0) ( P=0·02), total cholesterol (−0·07 mmol/l, 95 % CI −0·10, −0·05), LDL-cholesterol (−0·05 mmol/l, 95 % CI −0·08, −0·03), TAG (−0·02 mmol/l, 95 % CI −0·03, −0·01) ( P≤0·001 for all lipids) and lower metabolic syndrome (MetS) score ( P=0·01). Adjustment for fat mass index did not change the associations, but the association with blood pressure became borderline significant after adjustment for physical activity ( P=0·06). In conclusion, vitamin D status was negatively associated with blood pressure, plasma lipids and a MetS score in Danish school children with low prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, and apart from blood pressure the associations were independent of body fat and physical activity. The potential underlying cause–effect relationship and possible long-term implications should be investigated in randomised controlled trials.