“Now's the time to go outside and get some vitamin D”
Coming Thursday and Friday, spring will finally come to Belgium. This is important for our health, because thanks to the sun our body produces vitamin D. This is an important substance, but we're all short on it.
We don't go outside enough, and on top of that we've been too vigilant about exposing ourselves to sunlight the last couple of years. Being in the sun unprotected for fifteen minutes a day is good for you, specialists say.
Doctors and health specialists are sad to see how, in the past few years, we've all been fleeing the sun and producing too little vitamin D. "You see, the most important stimulus for vitamin D production is UV light from the sun”, says Eric De Maerteleire, who is a Professor of Biology and a member of the Belgian High Council of Health, an important scientific advisory board. "If a young person goes for a walk in the sun, vitamin D production happens very quickly. It takes only fifteen minutes of exposure to reach the daily requirements."
But there's the problem: "People don't walk out into the sun enough, and the past couple of years, we've been overprotective with sun screens", says Prof De Maerteleire. "Fear of skin cancer is justified, but we shouldn't exaggerate. Lately, even dermatologists have eased up on the matter."
The professor's advice is clear: "Especially children and young adults should take fifteen minutes out of their daily schedule to walk in full sunlight without protection or clothes that cover up too much skin." Looking at the weather forecasts for the end of this week, Prof De Maerteleire says "Now's the time to all go outside and get some sun! And make sure to check whether you're getting enough UV by looking at you shadow. If its length is shorter than your body's, the sun is high enough and you are receiving the proper amount. This is the case from April to September."
So let's all go outside coming Thursday and Friday, and see if he's right.