Monday, January 19, 2004


Are Americans Getting Too Little Sun?


Source: NBC News

 

Tamara Smith visits a tanning parlor when she can’t be outside in the sun. “I’m always indoors. I don’t go outside," says Smith.

Many doctors say ultraviolet light from the sun or a tanning machine is dangerous because of the risks associated with skin cancer. But some health experts, such as Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, disagree.

“I believe that Americans have gone overboard with their fear of the sun. I think that sensible exposure to sunlight is really important for your overall health and well-being,” says Holick.

The reason for the concern is vitamin D, essential for bone strength and other health needs, which our skin makes through exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays.

We need 1,000 units of vitamin D a day, but a glass of milk supplies only 100 units and a multivitamin only 400. So most people need the sun in order to avoid deficiency.

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