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

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


Aim: 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).

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Risk
  • Seasons
  • Sunbathing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sunlight*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control