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Researchers determine which work environments may put employees at risk for vitamin D deficiency

Posted on: June 28, 2017   by  Vitamin D Council


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.”


Sowah, D. et al. Vitamin D levels and deficiency with different occupations: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 2017.


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