, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp 1015-1019
Date: 20 Jul 2007

Sun protection and low levels of vitamin D: are people concerned?

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Recent reports on the association between low serum vitamin D and increased risk of cancer raised concerns about possible adverse effects of primary prevention strategies for skin cancer. To evaluate if these reports may influence peoples’ sun protective behavior, knowledge, and attitudes to the impact of sun protection on vitamin D.


Within a population-based survey in Queensland, Australia (5,611 participants, mean age 50.7 years (range 20–75); 48.2% men), agreement with the statement that sun protection may result in not having enough vitamin D as well as factors associated with agreement were assessed.


Overall, 837 (15.0%) participants agreed that sun protection may result in not having enough vitamin D, 2,163 (38.7%) neither agreed nor disagreed, and 2,591 (46.3%) disagreed with this statement. Factors associated with agreement included older age, darker skin color, and attempt to develop a suntan within the past year.


These results suggest that future sun protection campaigns may need to address the issue of vitamin D and present ways to achieve sufficient vitamin D levels without increasing sun exposure at least in countries with high UV radiation throughout the year.