Sun exposure could benefit health, says new research

New research from the University of Copenhagen indicates that sun exposure can prolong life. 

The academics found that sun exposure can have a positive effect on bones as well as reducing the chances of dying young and the risk of heart attack.

“The overall data indirectly suggest that sun exposure for many individuals may have beneficial health effects and therefore question the widespread advice that sun exposure should be avoided,” the team reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The study looked at the health records of the entire population of Denmark over the age of 40 (some 4million people). It found that those people diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer – a relatively common type of skin cancer that has a high survival rate – were some 4% less likely to have suffered a heart attack and half as likely to die young. 

However, Cancer Research UK’s Dr Claire Knights warns that overexposure to UV rays from the sun and sunbeds is still the main cause of skin cancer. “We all need some sun in our lives to make vitamin D, which is crucial for healthy bones, but the key is to enjoy the sun safely and avoid sunburn,” she said in a statement.