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Study links certain jobs to Vitamin D deficiency

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Edmonton, Alberta – Shift workers and people who work indoors may be at an increased risk for vitamin D deficiency, suggests a recent study from the University of Alberta.

Researchers analyzed 71 peer-reviewed studies presenting data on 53,425 people in the northern and southern hemispheres. They found that vitamin D deficiency levels were highest among shift workers (80 percent), indoor workers (77 percent) and health care students (72 percent).

In addition, 91 percent of indoor workers had “insufficient” vitamin D levels, in which the degree of vitamin D was lower than levels recommended for health but not low enough to be considered deficient. Among outdoor workers, 48 percent had vitamin D deficiency and 75 percent had vitamin D insufficiency.

“Our results suggest that occupation is a major factor that may contribute to suboptimal vitamin D levels,” researcher and co-author Sebastian Straube, Ph.D., said in a press release. “Regular screening of vitamin D levels in at-risk groups should be considered for future clinical practice guidelines and public health initiatives. Workplace wellness programs could include education about the importance of adequate vitamin D levels. This could help prevent adverse health outcomes linked to vitamin D deficiency, such as metabolic disorders, psychiatric and cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.”

The study was published online on June 22 in the journal BMC Public Health.

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