Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Avoiding Sun Exposure Seems to Boost Risk of Premature Death

Dermatologists have been warning about sun exposure and cancer for decades. Now a study from Sweden suggests that staying out of the sun may also pose a risk.

Researchers studied almost 30,000 Swedish women for approximately 20 years. When the study started the women were asked about sun bathing, smoking and alcohol consumption. The scientists were especially interested in the dangerous skin cancer, malignant melanoma. The leading hypothesis at that time was that melanoma was caused by sun exposure.

By the end of the study, nearly 10 percent of the volunteers had died. Those who made a point of avoiding the sun doubled their risk of dying.

The investigators hypothesize that those who stayed out of the sun might have had inadequate levels of vitamin D, which could affect overall survival. The authors suggest that daily short sun exposure might be better than shunning the sun completely.

[Journal of Internal Medicine, online, April 23, 2014]

The topic of sun exposure and even vitamin D supplementation has been quite controversial in medical circles. You may be interested in listening to the debate between two of the leading experts in the field, JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, and Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD. 

Rate this article
0- 0 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.