BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Staying out of the sun has downside
Sunbathers
Sunbathing is about striking a balance
An Australian campaign to reduce skin cancer by persuading people to stay out of the sun may have led to vitamin D deficiencies.

However, supporters have warned that the findings do not mean that sunbathing is a healthy pursuit.


We need to balance the need for sunshine against the risk of skin cancer

Professor Caryl Newson
The "slip, slop, slap" public health campaign has been a great success in a country where the heat of the sun is particularly intense, and where the rate of skin cancer is the highest in the world.

Campaigners advised sun worshippers to "slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat". The message has been mimicked across the world.

However, doctors have discovered that the drive to keep people out of the sun may have had a downside too.

A study found that nearly one in four women is deficient in vitamin D.

This can result in skeletal deformities in children, and muscular weakness and frail bones in adults.

Limited exposure

Researcher Professor Caryl Newson stressed that limited exposure to the sun had health benefits.

Fatty fish, meat, milk and eggs are all sources of vitamin D, but sunshine is also an essential source.

Professor Newson said: "We need to balance the need for sunshine against the risk of skin cancer."

She will now repeat her study to find out if men are suffering from the same problem.

A spokesman for the Australian Cancer Council said in most cases even the most vigilant were getting enough sun for vitamin D purposes.

He said: "I don't think this study is suggesting the important "slip, slop, slap" message be abandoned."

It is estimated that one in two Australians will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and each year more than 1,000 Australians die from the disease.

See also:

03 May 02 | Health
04 Jun 01 | Health
06 Aug 02 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes