Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate if any exposure to segregation minimal association in a single male prison population had any association with an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Design/methodology/approach: A retrospective case study was undertaken with all inmates who had a 25-hyrdoxy-vitamin D test taken during the study period deemed eligible. Hand searching of the medical records by an independent party identified eligible participants whose data were recorded for analysis.

Findings: In total, 124 prisoners were deemed eligible for inclusion; 67 were vitamin D sufficient and 57 were vitamin D deficient by Australian standards. Time in segregation minimal association was shown not to be significant, however, smoking (OR 2.93, 95% CI 1.27-6.81, p=0.012) and having Asian ethnicity (OR 4.16, 95% CI 1.56-11.10, p=0.004) independently significantly increased the risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Research limitations/implications: This research is limited by its study design, small sample size and single location.

Originality/value: This paper presents the first published research into vitamin D levels in a prison population in Australia, and provides a basis for a larger prospective cohort study.


Australia, public health, segregation, deficiency, prison population, vitamin D

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