• Sweden's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

'Healthy' for women to sunbathe: Swedish study

The Local/at · 9 Apr 2014, 15:58

Published: 09 Apr 2014 15:58 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The study followed up on almost 30,000 women over a 20-year period.

"The mortality rate among avoiders of sun exposure was approximately two-fold higher compared to the highest sun exposure group," the Karolinksa and Lund university researchers concluded in an article published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
 
The researchers said that in countries that don't see a lot of sunshine, like Sweden, it could in fact be harmful for public health campaigners to tell people to stay out of the sun. 
 
"Following sun exposure advice that is very restrictive in countries with low solar intensity might in fact be harmful to women’s health, resulting in excess mortality with a population," Lindqvist's team concluded.
 
While fair-skinned women living in sunny climates had the highest skin cancer rates, sun should not be considered the worst enemy for a woman because exposure increases Vitamin D levels, the scientists noted. 
 
And once a person had developed a cancerous mole, low Vitamin D levels appears to have a link, albeit not explained in the study, to whether the patient had a fighting chance to beat the cancer or not. 
 
"Low vitamin D concentrations have also been linked to thicker, more aggressive melanomas with shorter survival times," the study synopsis read.
 
To make sure the research was thorough, the women who filled out a survey had to answer questions not only about how much time they spent in the sun. They also had to tell the scientists about their education, whether they smoked, if they had a life partner, and the number of pregnancies they'd had. The questions also looked at the women's weight-to-height ratio or BMI, and how often they played sports or worked out. Income was also included as a factor.
 
Overall, women who had very little sun exposure suffered higher "all-cause mortality". Put simply, more of  the non-sunbathers in the study had died in past two decades than the sun lovers. But they died, broadly put, of other ailments than skin cancer.
 
The researchers noted that the US Navy had previously reported that its staff were at a high risk of skin cancer, but were healthier when looking at the bigger picture. The Swedish study seemed to echo that observation. 
 
The finding left the Swedish scientists questioning the pervasive advice to stay out of the sun. The team, lead by chief doctor Pelle Lindqvist, noted that many public-health guidelines had been drawn up based on Australian research, but the sunshine there and up north differed when it came to UV rays.
 
The advice may simply not be appropriate for Swedes.  
 
"Following generally restrictive guidelines in Sweden, a country located at the northern latitude of between 55 degrees and 67 degrees with limited sunshine and a low UV index, might not be optimal," Lindqvist and his team wrote. 
 
"In fact, our findings indicate that these guidelines may indeed be harmful in terms of overall health of the population." 

The Local/at (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden has fourth happiest workers in the world: report
Is Swedish fika the secret? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden is home to the fourth happiest workers in the world, an international survey has claimed.

Here's how much Ikea staff are getting for Christmas
Christmas comes early for Ikea staff. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt/NTB scanpix/TT

Staff at Ikea are getting an early Christmas treat in the form of millions of euros to share between them.

Sweden threatens action to stop Facebook 'hate and lies'
Should Facebook crack down on hate speech? Photo: AP Photo/dapd, Timur Emek

Sweden could impose legal obligations on Facebook as a last resort if the social network does not crack down on hate speech and fake news, the culture and democracy minister has threatened.

In pictures
This is what Sweden's new Icehotel looks like
An artist's impression of the hotel in winter. Photo: PinPin Studio/Icehotel

The famous Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi has just opened its new year-round section. Have a look at some of the first pictures of one of the world's most unusual hotels here.

The Local List
Sweden's pioneering free press act turns 250
It doesn't look bad for 250 years old. Photo: Regeringen

On the day of its 250th anniversary, The Local looks at five facts worth knowing about Sweden's groundbreaking Freedom of the Press Act.

Beware ice, Swedes warned after string of accidents
File photo of a Swedish car not related to the story. Photo: Tomas Oneborg / SvD / TT

Swedes have been warned to be on their guards as stretches of the country's southern roads turned into ice rinks due to the chilly temperatures, causing a string of car accidents.

The Local List
Ten things you should never say to a Swede
These things are guaranteed to anger Swedes. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Local List
Seven bizarre Swedish academic traditions
Student life in Lund, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX

The Local guides you through Sweden's ancient universities' top academic traditions all foreign students need to know about.

Swedish study: Virtual reality relieves phantom limbs
A man testing the software used in the study. Photo: Ortiz-Catalan et al/ The Lancet

A new study by Gothenburg's Chalmers University shows that training a virtual arm in virtual reality can relieve the phantom limb pain suffered by amputees.

The Local Recipes
Christmas recipe: Swedish saffron buns with almonds
Swedish saffron buns with chocolate and almonds. Photo: Swedish Food/John Duxbury

Food writer John Duxbury shares his new take on an old Swedish favourite: saffron buns with added chocolate and almond paste.

Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden's next big music export?
National
Final proof that Sweden has NOT banned Christmas lights
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so much talent from abroad
Travel
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's new myth-busting Viking museum
The Local Voices
Job market matchmaker hooks up 1,300 newcomers and Swedes
Blog updates

14 November

Hello darkness, my old friend (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I started thinking about November’s blog for The Local at the end of October, as the…" READ »

 

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
18 Stockholm innovations to keep an eye on
Gallery
People-watching: November 30th
Sponsored Article
Sweden to Hong Kong: The Local guide
National
This is how cold it's going to get in Sweden this week
Gallery
Property of the week: Skellefteå
National
Inside Sweden's perilous Sami reindeer pilgrimage
Sponsored Article
Programmers' bootcamp: Change your life in 12 weeks
The Local Voices
'My name is Sami and I am a proud Swede - it hurts when people say I'm not Swedish'
Sponsored Article
We visited 5 'murder spots' in Malmö
National
Swedish Advent 'less popular than Christmas Eve'
Gallery
People-watching: November 25th-27th
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm startups are teaching kids to program
Swedish city to put all workers through LGBT course
Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden's next big music export?
National
The five weirdest attacks on Sweden's giant straw yule goat
Gallery
People-watching: November 23rd
Sponsored Article
'Learning to trade gave me the life I wanted'
The Local Voices
'Swedes are stylish: you need to dress well if you want to fit in'
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: leading the way in clean energy innovation
National
Critics slam Swedish paper's Donald Trump cartoon as anti-Semitic
Sponsored Article
Michael Björklund: 'Being a chef is crazy work'
National
Men call Sweden's mansplaining hotline for mansplaining tips
Sponsored Article
We visited 5 'murder spots' in Malmö
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
HIV in Sweden today is not like it was yesterday
Gallery
People-watching: November 18th-20th
Sponsored Article
Mette Helbæk: ‘We have a basic human need to connect'
Culture
Shooting starts on The Bridge 4
Sponsored Article
Terje Håkonsen: 'I try to make everything count'
Travel
Sweden's ten most beautiful places
Sponsored Article
Lina Thomsgård: 'I try to break down barriers every day'
The Local Voices
Having a Swedish girlfriend didn't help this Egyptian evade culture shock
Sponsored Article
'We wanted to turn ideas into action'
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
Culture
What the world of Harry Potter would look like... set in Sweden
National
Here's where Sweden's best non-native English speakers live
The Local Voices
This new book by a Syrian writer gives refugee children their own hero
Politics
Do Swedish polls underestimate support for Sweden Democrats?
3,553
jobs available