Vitamin D status of inmates: the experience of penitentiaries prisons in the province of Salerno in Southern Italy

Clin Ter. 2022 Nov-Dec;173(6):551-556. doi: 10.7417/CT.2022.2481.


Introduction: Prisoners are at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency due to their lacking exposure to sunlight. So far, there are no published studies evaluating blood levels of vitamin D in relation to the health status of inmates and the quality of the Italian prison system.

Aim: To investigate vitamin D status and its determinants in a cohort of prisoners.

Subject and methods: One hundred and seventy-two (172) pri-son inmates (males, n=159, age 47± 11.3 years; females, n=13, age 43.91±12.18 years) of three penitentiaries in the province of Salerno. Vitamin D deficiency, insufficiency and sufficiency were respectively defined as a 25(OH)D level <20 ng/mL; from 20 to 30 ng/mL, >30 ng/mL.

Results: In our group, Vitamin D deficiency occurs in 77.32% of the prisoners with 32.55% of the cases having severe insufficiency. Prisoners with higher BMI show lower circulating vitamin D levels (p<0.001). No significant relationship was found with the duration of detention (Pearson R: 0.01).

Conclusion: In this cohort of inmates the vitamin D status is determined by BMI, but not by the duration of the detention.

Keywords: Italy; Vitamin D; inmates blood deficiency; prisoners; prisons; right to health.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prisoners*
  • Prisons
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Vitamins


  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins