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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2010 Oct;90(1):109-14. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2010.06.007.

Are active sun exposure habits related to lowering risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women, a prospective cohort study?

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Clintec, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Kvinnokliniken K 57, Stockholm, Sweden.



An inverse relationship exists between vitamin D levels and diabetes mellitus. However, little is known about the correlation of sun exposure habits and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM).


A South Swedish cohort study comprising 1000 women from each age group between 25 and 64 (n=40,000) drawn from the Southern Swedish population registry 1990-1992. At the inception of the study 74% answered the inquiry (n=29,518) and provided detailed information on their sun exposure habits and other variables. A follow-up inquiry was sent 2000-2002 which 24,098 women answered. The mean follow-up time was 11 years. Logistic regression analysis was used and the main outcome was the relationship between type 2 DM and sun exposure habits.


Our findings indicated that women with active sun exposure habits were at a 30% lower risk of having DM, as compared to those with non-active habits. There was an inverse relation between this risk reduction and BMI.


Our investigation gives possible epidemiological explanation to ethnic and seasonal differences in type 2 DM and metabolic control. The study supports that sunlight is involved in the glucose metabolism.

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