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Open AccessArticle

Is Sunlight Exposure Enough to Avoid Wintertime Vitamin D Deficiency in United Kingdom Population Groups?

1
School of Earth and Environmental Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
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Division of Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, and Dermatology Centre, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M6 8HD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1624; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081624
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 27 July 2018 / Accepted: 29 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UV Radiation and Health)
Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is required for cutaneous vitamin D synthesis, and experimental studies have indicated the levels of sun exposure required to avoid a vitamin D deficient status. Our objectives are to examine the sun exposure behaviours of different United Kingdom sectors and to identify if their exposure is enough to maintain winter circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D above deficiency (>25 nmol/L). Data are from a series of human studies involving >500 volunteers and performed using the same protocols in Greater Manchester, UK (53.5° N) in healthy white Caucasian adolescents and working-age adults (skin type I–IV), healthy South Asian working-age adults (skin type V), and adults with photodermatoses (skin conditions caused or aggravated by cutaneous sun exposure). Long-term monitoring of the spectral ambient UVR of the Manchester metropolitan area facilitates data interpretation. The healthy white populations are exposed to 3% ambient UVR, contrasting with ~1% in South Asians. South Asians and those with photodermatoses wear clothing exposing smaller skin surface area, and South Asians have the lowest oral vitamin D intake of all groups. Sun exposure levels prevent winter vitamin D deficiency in 95% of healthy white adults and 83% of adolescents, while 32% of the photodermatoses group and >90% of the healthy South Asians were deficient. The latter require increased oral vitamin D, whilst their sun exposure provides a tangible contribution and might convey other health benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; ultraviolet radiation; climatology; white Caucasian; South Asian; adolescent; photodermatoses vitamin D; ultraviolet radiation; climatology; white Caucasian; South Asian; adolescent; photodermatoses
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Kift, R.; Rhodes, L.E.; Farrar, M.D.; Webb, A.R. Is Sunlight Exposure Enough to Avoid Wintertime Vitamin D Deficiency in United Kingdom Population Groups? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1624.

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