Sunshine, vitamin D could help reduce risk of diabetes, study suggests

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Spending a day basking in the sun no question is good for the soul. Now new research suggests it might also be good for reducing the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes among seniors.

Researchers at the University of Warwick Medical School tested the correlation between levels of vitamin D and the occurrence of metabolic syndrome among the elderly. After analyzing tests from 3,262 people in China aged 50 to 70 years, researchers found that 94% of the subjects had a vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, and that of that group, 42.3% had metabolic syndrome. According to researchers, the results are consistent with tests run on both British and American populations, which suggest vitamin D deficiency could become a worldwide health concern. It is also associated with insulin resistance, researchers say.  

One way the body produces vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight, according to researchers. As people age, their skin becomes less able to absorb sunlight and process it into vitamin D. Other lifestyle factors, including diet, also tend to result in less vitamin D intake as people age. In order to keep vitamin D levels up, researchers suggest elderly people might spend more time in the sun. The study appears in an online version of the journal Diabetes Care.
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