Monday, December 10, 2007

Sun, sun, sun

This week's Sun-Herald screams 'Millions at risk'. THE health story of the week is the increasingly common occurrence of vitamin D deficiency.

It's not a new development, although now 1 in 3 of the Australian population, including yours truly, have insufficient levels of this vitamin.

This appears to be the flip side of a very successful anti-skin cancer campaign, such that people are avoiding the sun exposure necessary for the production of vitamin D. The role of vitamin D in bone health is well known but apparently, a deficit of vitamin D has been linked to colon, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.

So it's all about balance, about getting some sun exposure but not sunbaking. Health Psych readers (The flip of slip, slop, slap) already knew that though, didn't they?


Adiemus said...

How is vit D deficiency assessed? I was aware that the 'slip, slop, slap' message had a sting in its tail, but do you have any indication of how much sun is necessary? Not that I want to get out in the sun here - too darn hot'n'humid today!

Health Psych said...

Vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed by a blood test. If I can remember rightly, I think the recommendation is 10-20 minutes exposure...during safer periods ie. not middle of the day and it doesn't mean sunbaking. Just being out in the sunlight. You can also supplement vitamin D if you can't take the sun.