Editorials

Do white British children and adolescents get enough sunlight?

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7507.3 (Published 30 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:3
  1. Brian Diffey (b.l.diffey@ncl.ac.uk), professor
  1. Regional Medical Physics Department, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle NE4 6BE

    Probably, and calls to abandon campaigns for skin cancer awareness are misguided

    Fear of skin cancer, prompted by campaigns such as “SunSmart” (www.sunsmart.org.uk/) in the United Kingdom, may have led to children spending less time exposed to sunlight, reducing opportunities for the production of vitamin D in the skin and resulting in a consequent detriment to bone health.1 Furthermore, recent evidence shows that sunlight exposure and the resulting synthesis of vitamin D might reduce the risk of certain cancers2 and, perhaps, of other diseases such as multiple sclerosis.3 In response, there have been calls for current skin cancer awareness campaigns in the UK to be abandoned.4 Are such calls justified?

    Adequate sun exposure is not easily defined,1 but one of the leading proponents of the beneficial effects of sun exposure has indicated that exposing the face, hands and arms two to three times …

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