A recent systematic review published by BioMed Central found that shift workers, healthcare workers and indoor workers were at the highest risk of developing vitamin D deficiency compared to other work environments.
Researchers compared the vitamin D levels of individuals from the following work environment categories: outdoor and indoor workers, shift workers, lead/smelter workers, coalminers and healthcare professionals. Using data from 71 peer-reviewed articles, they were able to determine average vitamin D levels of each work environment.
This is what the data revealed:
- Average vitamin D levels for outside workers were significantly higher than indoor workers’ vitamin D levels (16.24 ± 5.32 vs. 26.68 ± 6.68 ng/ml; p < 0.0001).
- Vitamin D deficiency (< 20 ng/ml), was more prevalent in shift workers (80%) and indoor workers (78%) compared to outdoor workers (48%).
- A total of 72% of healthcare studies, 65% of medical residents, 46% of practicing physicians, 44% of healthcare employees and 43% of nurses were vitamin D deficient.
From their data collection, the researchers determined key groups to target for vitamin D deficiency.
The researchers concluded:
“Our review demonstrates that shift workers, healthcare workers and indoor workers are at high risk to develop vitamin D deficiency, which may reflect key lifestyle differences (e.g. sunlight exposure). This may help target health promotion and preventive efforts.”