Sun Exposure Guidelines and Serum Vitamin D Status in Denmark: The StatusD Study

Louise Hansen, Anne Tjønneland, Brian Køster, Christine Brot, Rikke Andersen, Marika Lundqvist, Jane Nyrup Christensen, Anja Olsen

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Little is known on how vitamin D status is affected by adherence to UVB-limiting sun exposure guidelines. Our aim was to investigate the relationship between adherence to the Danish sun exposure guidelines and vitamin D status. In total, 3194 Danes (2625 adults, 569 children) were recruited among the general population, and more than 92% had blood samples taken both autumn and spring. Using linear regression, we associated serum vitamin D concentrations to questionnaire responses on: seeking shade, wearing a sunhat, wearing protective clothing or using sunscreen. The odds ratio (OR) of either low (<25 or 50 nmol/L) or adequate/high (≥50 nmol/L) vitamin D status was examined using logistic regression. For adults, those who always sought shade or wore protective clothing compared to those who did not had lower levels of vitamin D (autumn concentrations for shade: 7.2 nmol/L lower (-11.0--3.6 nmol/L); for protective clothing: 9.9 nmol/L lower (-13.6--6.2 nmol/L). Adherence to all four guidelines was also associated with lower vitamin D concentrations (autumn: 9.7 nmol/L lower (-14.3--5.1 nmol/L). Use of sunscreen was associated with adequate vitamin D status, as those who always sought shade compared to those who did not had an OR (95% CI) of 1.68 (1.25-2.35) of having ≥50 nmol/L during both spring and autumn. No associations were found with wearing a sunhat, and there were no clear associations for children. In conclusion, adherence to the sun exposure guidelines on shade and protective clothing was associated with lower vitamin D status among Danish adults, but not children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number266
Issue number5
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • StatusD
  • skin cancer
  • sun exposure guidelines
  • vitamin D

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