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Impact of Vitamin D Deficiency on the Productivity of a Health Care Workforce

Plotnikoff, Gregory A. MD, MTS; Finch, Michael D. PhD; Dusek, Jeffery A. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 2 - p 117–121
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318240df1e
CME Available for this Article at

Objective: To define the relationship between vitamin D status and employee presenteeism in a large sample of health care employees.

Methods: Prospective observation study of 10,646 employees of a Midwestern-integrated health care system who completed an on-line health risk appraisal questionnaire and were measured for 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Results: Measured differences in productivity due to presenteeism were 0.66, 0.91, and 0.75 when comparing employees above and below vitamin D levels of 20 ng/mL, 30 ng/mL, and 40 ng/mL, respectively. These productivity differences translate into potential productivity savings of 0.191%, 0.553%, and 0.625%, respectively, of total payroll costs.

Conclusions: Low vitamin D status is associated with reduced employee work productivity. Employee vitamin D assessment and replenishment may represent a low-cost, high-return program to mitigate risk factors and health conditions that drive total employer health care costs.

From the Center for Health Care Innovation and Penny George Institute for Health and Healing (Drs Plotnikoff and Dusek), Allina Hospitals and Clinics; and University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management (Dr Finch), Minneapolis, Minn.

Address correspondence to: Gregory A. Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, Allina Center for Health Care Innovation, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, 800 E. 28th St, Minneapolis, MN 55407. E-mail:

Authors Plotnikoff, Finch, and Dusek, received support for this research by the Allina Hospitals and Clinics Employee Benefits Office, the Allina Center for Healthcare Innovation and Diasorin, Inc. Author Plotnikoff has consulted for Diasorin, Inc.

Diasorin Inc. had no role in the design and conduct of the study, the collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data, or the preparation or approval of the manuscript.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine