You might think vitamin D deficiency wouldn’t be a problem in Australia, but new research has shown it’s an issue even in sunny countries, and indoor workers are one of the most at risk groups.
The research, published in Nature, found that 77 per cent of indoor workers were deficient in vitamin D. Including those who had insufficient levels of vitamin D (not classified as deficient but lower than recommended for health) sees the figure shoot up to nine out of 10.
Other at-risk groups included shift workers and medical professionals.
“Our results suggest that occupation is a major factor that may contribute to suboptimal vitamin D levels,” study author Dr Sebastian Straube said.
“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 should include education on the importance of sun
He said workplace wellness programs could also include education on the importance of getting enough sun and vitamin D.
“This could help prevent adverse health outcomes linked to vitamin D deficiency, such as metabolic disorders, psychiatric and cardiovascular disorders, and cancer,” Dr Straube said.
While the research was of a global nature and included countries with much less sun exposure than Australia, workers here aren’t off the hook.
“Despite the relationship between sunlight exposure and vitamin D levels, vitamin D deficiency is reportedly also prevalent among populations living in sunny climates including the Middle East, Africa, Australia, India and South America,” the research said.
Indeed, in Australia it is estimated that more than 30 per cent of individuals are deficient in vitamin D.
Dr Straube said a lack of sun exposure during work was to blame.
“Vitamin D production by the body is reliant on sunshine and UV exposure so any activity that reduces exposure tends to reduce vitamin D levels.”
Another reason to make sure offices have good natural light.