Sunshine may decrease risk of inflammatory bowel disease

Sunshine Associated With Decrease In IBD Symptoms In Children

A new study published by Australian National University found that exposure to sunlight for only half an hour a day could decrease a child’s risk of experiencing IBD related symptoms. 

This study, based in Melbourne, was conducted by Professor Robyn Lucas of ANU College of Health and Medicine. “Taking children to play outside in the sun could be life-changing…It doesn’t have to be all at the same time. But, we found children who were outside and exposed to the sun for an extra half hour a day in total, had a lower risk of developing IBD by almost 20%.”  More than 3.1 million Americans live with IBD, 10% of these Americans are children. 

While the study results give reason for parents to provide more outdoor-time for their children with IBD, Dr. Hamed Khalili, MD of Massachusetts General Hospital warns that patients should still be “sun smart” and exercise normal precautions with sun-exposure: “The best effect is through direct exposure to skin, however, even in kids that are wearing sunblock and protective clothing, there is some sunlight exposure that could have a beneficial effect.”

"If we can reduce the risk of developing IBD it is worth the trouble to get outdoors and get some sun -- but do it safely, following Cancer Council guidelines,” cautions Dr. Lucas. 

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