Save the children with sunlight. by Marc Sorenson, EdD
Save the children is a refrain heard throughout the world, and a great refrain it is. It truly is time to save the children. There is so much child abuse and so many childhood health disasters that it is a burden we cannot ignore. It is especially relevant that our children are addicted to noxious foods and sedentary lives. And, the sun robbery they experience is equally harmful. This article is the first of several discussing the necessity for sun exposure if we are to save the children.
Save the children from myopia.
First of all, myopia (nearsightedness) among children is pandemic and increasing at an alarming rate. And, researchers demonstrated as early as 2008 that the lowest myopia risk was among those with highest outdoor activity. Some have surmised that the key ingredient that could save the children from myopia was exercise. But, the researchers refuted that idea because they also demonstrated that indoor exercise did not reduce myopia risk.
Most noteworthy, the same research showed the prevalence of myopia among Chinese children living in Singapore was 29.1%. Furthermore, the prevalence among Chinese children living in Sydney, Australia was only 3.3%. Is this because the Sydney children spent about 13.8 hours per week outdoors compared to 3.1 hours in Singapore? Hence, the children who spent most of their lives indoors had 9.5 times the risk of developing myopia! So adults in Sidney who let their kids play in the sun, certainly knew how to save them from myopia.
How much sunshine does it take?
Children under six should spend three hours daily in sunshine, according to other researchers who want to save them. So what could be a more natural? Just be sure the children do not burn.
Consequently, the next time someone tells you that it is not good for children to play outside, tell them the facts. Outdoor activity in the sunlight is absolutely necessary to save them from myopia. For more information: sunlightinstitute.org, and read my book, Embrace the Sun.
Does sun exposure help fight depression? Of course!
By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Exposure
Although this blog has discussed sun exposure and its affects on depression, there is some information that I may have neglected to mention. It has been shown that depressed psychiatric patients who resided in sunny rooms stayed in the hospital 2.6 fewer days than those who had “dull” rooms. The sunny rooms had windows, so it is likely that endorphins and serotonin, created by the sun entering the windows, were the natural “uppers” by which the patients felt better. Nitric oxide, produced by UVA light exposure, could also have played a part.
Another of those dull rooms is the one that houses the TV. An interesting study from the University of Pittsburgh found that the more TV teenagers watched, the more likely they were to be depressed as adults. The study author theorized that because there is so much depressing news and programming on TV, the more exposure, the more the internalizing or the depressing programming. For each hour of TV watched, the rate of depression increased significantly.
The researchers may be correct, or it could be that hours of sedentary life in front of the TV, watching commercials for junk food, leads to obesity and poor health as the teenager ages. We have another theory that may supplant, or at least add to those theories. It is possible that years of unnatural indoor habits create deficiency of the aforementioned vitamin D, nitric oxide, endorphins and serotonin, which may have long-term effects. Combined with the deleterious influences of excessive TV watching, that could be a recipe for depression and health disasters. Sun exposure and vitamin D are absolutely necessary for human health and happiness. An indoor lifestyle is unnatural and damaging to the human body and psyche.
Safely embrace the sun and obtain its “feel-good” effects.
 Beauchemin KM, Hays P. Sunny hospital rooms expedite recovery from severe and refractory depressions. J Affect Disord. 1996 Sep 9;40(1-2):49-51.
Primack, B. Association between media use in adolescence and depression in young adulthood: a longitudinal study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;66(2):181-8