Sunshine, aside from being good for your soul, adds a very important element into your life - vitamin D. The sun works with the skin to produce vitamin D in your body. Although other forms of vitamin D are in some of the foods we eat, they still need to be processed to gain the benefits.
A study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood evaluated a group of adolescent girls in an inner city school in the United Kingdom for vitamin D deficiency. Fifty-one girls between the ages of 14 and 16 were chosen to participate in the study. After measuring weight, height and body mass, the researchers distributed a questionnaire that evaluated the girls' daily intake of vitamin D, calcium and sunlight.
Thirty-seven of the girls (73 percent) were found to be vitamin D deficient, while nine (17 percent) of the students were considered severely deficient.. The results indicated that the vitamin D deficiency was due to underexposure to sunlight.
Of course, too much sun can be a bad thing, particularly in terms of skin damage, so be careful. But a little a day can go a long way toward ensuring adequate intake of vitamin D.
Archives of Disease in Childhood, July 2006;91(7):569-572.