Many Australians need more sun

A study which examined the vitamin D levels of people from Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania has found that Vitamin D insufficiency is common over a wide latitude range in Australia.

The findings were announced on the 8 November at the launch of Research Australia’s ‘Thank You Day’ in Tasmania.

Researcher Dr Ingrid van der Mei says that most of the vitamin D that we need is produced by our body when we spend time in the sun.

“Inadequate sun exposure and dietary vitamin D intake can result in vitamin D insufficiency.

“We examined three communities at different latitudes and found that even in typically sunny Queensland, during winter and spring around 40% of the population has insufficient levels of vitamin D,” said Dr van der Mei.

“Irrespective of location across Australia, vitamin D insufficiency was common in winter and spring. In Tasmania, vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency seems to be common for a large part of the year.

“Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential to bone health, and vitamin D insufficiency has also been linked to diseases such as cancer, MS and diabetes.

“Current sun exposure guidelines do not seem to fully prevent vitamin D insufficiency, and we have concluded that consideration should be given to their modification or to pursuing other means to achieve adequate levels of vitamin D,” she said. 

Editor's Note: Original news release can be found here.