Long Live the Sunbather!

Cows can read. Chocolate makes you lose weight.  Sunbathers live longer.

I know, I know.  If only.  But it's actually true..  Sunbathers live longer.

New research is looking into the paradox that women who sunbathe are likely to live longer than those who avoid the sun, even though sunbathers are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer, newswise.com reports.

An analysis of information on 29,518 Swedish women who were followed for 20 years revealed that longer life expectancy among women with active sun exposure habits was related to a decrease in heart disease and non-cancer/non-heart disease deaths, causing the relative contribution of death due to cancer to increase.

Whether the positive effect of sun exposure demonstrated in this observational study is mediated by vitamin D, another mechanism related to UV radiation, or by unmeasured bias cannot be determined, so researchers believe additional research is warranted.

I run outside year-round so I'm probably not at risk of low vitamin D.  And I admit, I love the sun, and swim every day in the summer.  I turn as brown as a raisin.  The jury is still out on how healthy this is for me.  But hey, I love having caramel-colored skin in the winter. 

"We found smokers in the highest sun exposure group were at a similar risk as non-smokers avoiding sun exposure, indicating avoidance of sun exposure to be a risk factor of the same magnitude as smoking," says Dr. Pelle Lindqvist, lead author of the Journal of Internal Medicine study. "Guidelines being too restrictive regarding sun exposure may do more harm than good for health."

Who knew?


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