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We aimed to determine the correlation between vitamin D status and serum lipids in a Chinese population.This was an observational study. Between September 13, 2012 and December 24, 2012, a total of 3788 coal mine workers received health examinations. Information on demographic factors, personal history, and medical history were collected. Serum lipids and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25 (OH)D] were measured. The association between lipid profiles and 25 (OH)D was analyzed.When the highest quintile of the 25 (OH)D level was set as reference, the risk of having dyslipidemia increased progressively across the highest to lowest the 25 (OH)D with the ORs of 1 (reference), 1.232 (95% CI, 1.005–1.509), 1.235 (95% CI, 1.007–1.513), 1.403 (95% CI, 1.143–1.735) and 1.494 (95% CI, 1.217–1.833), respectively (Ptrend < 0.0001) after adjustment for age. This trend was unchanged after further adjustment for several potential confounders. In linear regression analysis, we found an inverse significant correlation between 25 (OH)D and triglycerides (β coefficient = − 0.077, p < 0.05), and LDL cholesterol (β coefficient = − 0.245, p < 0.05), and positive correlation with HDL cholesterol (β coefficient = 0.038, p = 0.018).Vitamin D deficiency is found to be associated with dyslipidemia in this large cohort: serum 25 (OH)D is inversely correlated with LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and positively correlated with HDL cholesterol level.