Yes, it’s true! Sunlight helps grow healthier Children! January 24 2015

Tracking the sun is fun!

It may seem early in the season to be talking about healthy sun exposure, but each day is getting longer, and spring is not that far away! Soon the sun will be a major concern for parents, and we would like to draw early attention to a growing and serious problem; Vitamin D deficiency in children is on the rise, and it is primarily due to lack of sunshine!

A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 50 percent of children aged 1 to 5 years old, and 70 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11, are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D.

According to a report at the Hopkins Children’s Center; 

60 percent of children may have suboptimal levels of vitamin D. Prolonged and untreated vitamin D deficiency can affect multiple organs and functions, including bone growth and density, metabolism, heart and immunity, but it rarely causes overt symptoms and often goes unnoticed. 

Vitamin D deficiency in childhood can cause skeletal deformities, brittle bones, frequent fractures and lead to premature osteoporosis in later life. However emerging evidence suggests that vitamin D is involved in far more than bone health. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and some cancers, heart disease, suppressed immunity and even premature death.

And, according to the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital;

Vitamin D is essential for good bone health and for most people sunlight is the most important source of Vitamin D. The time required to make sufficient Vitamin D varies according to a number of environmental, physical and personal factors, but is typically short and less than the amount of time needed for skin to redden and burn. Enjoying the sun safely, while taking care not to burn, can help to provide the benefits of Vitamin D without unduly raising the risk of skin cancer.

Sun safety for Children has been an important discussion, so much so, that we may have forgotten that the sun is essential to the health of our children, and everyone at every stage of life, from fetus to death. Here are some of the common issues that are avoided by having optimal levels of vitamin D related to children:

  • Seasonal Flu
  • Rickets
  • Asthma and wheezing
  • Bone development issues and dental problems
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Precursors for MS, Diabetes Type 1, rheumatoid arthritis and Chrone’s disease and cancers.

Lack of healthy vitamin D levels is primarily linked to too much time in doors or over-use of sun blockers while in the sun.

What to teach your children about getting healthier sun exposure 

  1. UV Index, the global scale that lets you know how much ultra violet (UV) radiation is actually getting from the sun, through the ozone and atmosphere to your skin. 1 is for the least amount of sun or UV exposure, 11 is for the highest amount.
  2. Skin color and how that effects how much time they can be exposed – lighter skin needs less time in the sun, darker skin needs more time in the sun.
  3. After you have had enough "healthier" sunshine each day, it is important to cover up, go inside or use a quality broad-spectrum sunscreen to avoid skin damage.

With SunFriend personal UV/Sun tracker, you can check the real-time UV Index. Customize the SunFriend to your skin color and watch as LED’s light up to indicate a healthier amount of sun for the day while avoiding over – exposure or skin damage. As always, once anyone has had enough healthy sun, it is important to cover up, go inside or in the shade, or use a good quality broad-spectrum sunscreen.

An excerpt from NIH… Our bodies were built to make good use of the sun.

For additional reading on vitamin D levels and children, please visit this Vitamin D Council website link. SunFriend is Approved by the Vitamin D Council as a viable tool for increasing vitamin D levels naturally from the sun. 

To purchase a SunFriend and receive free delivery in the US, please click here