Australians compromising health by not getting enough sun

WINTER WALK: Sue-Ella Waltham, Ashley Knight and their daughter Vara enjoying a lunchtime walk in the winter sun.
WINTER WALK: Sue-Ella Waltham, Ashley Knight and their daughter Vara enjoying a lunchtime walk in the winter sun. Sharyn Oneill Rokswalk

WORKING long hours, skipping lunch and spending all day indoors. Sound familiar?

New research has raised concerns that overworked Australians could be compromising their health by doing all these things because it limits their exposure to sunlight.

Ashley Knight celebrated his birthday yesterday by having the day off work and taking his "girls" Sue-Ella and four-month-old daughter Vara to Cafe Calma and then for a nice walk along the Quay St boardwalk to enjoy the sunshine.

Admitting to working long hours, Ashley said now that Vara had come along they tried to make more time to get outdoors and regularly went for walks around their North Rockhampton suburbs.

"I enjoy it," Ashley said. "It is good chill time."

Sue-Ella said she regularly took Vara out in the pram for an afternoon walk before it got too dark and cold.

"It is a good habit to have," Sue-Ella said.

Their habits are in contrast to the research by Ostelin, which found more than 30% of the workforce regularly skipped a lunch break or ate at their desk, and because of work pressures they simply did not get outside.

Experts warn this increasingly indoor lifestyle may have considerable health consequences due to lack of Vitamin D, a nutrient sourced mostly from the sun and essential for bone health and muscle function.

The warnings come in the lead-up to the second annual National Vitamin D Awareness Day on the eve of the shortest day of the year when sunlight is most limited and the vitamin's health message most important.

The national health initiative calls for Australians to Take a D-Break by simply stepping outside during the work day to get the required dose of daily sunlight for optimal health and strong bones.

A "D-Break'' today can help prevent a bone break tomorrow.

Vitamin D

National Vitamin D Awareness Day is on Friday.

Vitamin D plays an essential role in the body's calcium absorption which is critical for bone health and muscle function.

Sufficient Vitamin D also helps prevent musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoporosis.

Queenslanders with moderately fair skin should have 15-19 minutes sun exposure in winter.

One in three young adults aged 18-34 were found to be vitamin D deficient, double the number of those aged 65-74.

Topics:  cafe calma vitamin d

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