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Doctor wants to put vitamin D to work

Posted on: February 14, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council

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An Abbott Northwestern doctor wants corporate America to begin putting vitamin D to work, stating vitamin D deficiency is costing millions of dollars in lost productivity and preventable health costs.

Dr Greg Plotnikoff has spent the last 10 years discussing the health benefits of vitamin D with his medical colleagues across the globe.

With such high medical costs combined with a fragile economy, Dr Plotnikoff hopes his vitamin D message will sink in, especially throughout corporate America.

“Vitamin D may represent the single most cost-effective medical intervention we have today,” he said.

Plotnikoff argues that companies can save an average of $112 to $370 per employee per year in preventable illness and improved productivity simply by encouraging employees to increase their vitamin D levels, information Dr Plotnikoff will soon be publishing.

He hopes the monetary implications of the study will encourage corporate America to take a stand and support the health of their employees.

“We have no problem ordering a $1,500 MRI or a $90,000 course of Avastin for cancer,” he said. “Why wait 10 years for randomized controlled trial … when you can measure, replenish and see right away if it makes a difference?”

Plotnikoff isn’t encouraging companies to inform employees that they need to pop pills, just encouraging testing to find out one’s vitamin D status.

Dr Plotnikoff conducted the research between January and February of 2010. Participants filled out a health risk appraisal form and a questionnaire that measured work limitations caused by physical or mental health issues. Most of the participants were white women with an average age of 44, about 60% of which had low vitamin D levels, while 30% had “very low levels.”

Plotnikoff is in the process of conducting a follow up study comparing vitamin D levels with health and productivity among the Allina employees who were tested the previous year.

“My hope is that businesses will see this as an mopportunity to save money and promote health at the same time,” he said.

Sources

Plotnikoff GA, Finch MD, Dusek JA. Impact of vitamin D deficiency on the productivity of a health care workforce. J Occup Environ Med. Feb 2012.

Crosby J. Doctor wants to put vitamin D to work in the workplace. StarTribune: Health. February 11, 2012.

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