Countless organisms across the face of the planet have figured out how to utilize the biggest source of energy known to man; our own sun. Bacteria and plants abound that depend on its rays of UV light as a direct way to harness its unwavering supply. So it comes as no surprise to me that it also plays a vital role in the health of human beings.
New research from Eduardo Villamor, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, shows a correlation between higher indications of obesity and a lack of vitamin-D, which is created naturally by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
So put down that stupid Wii controller and get the hell outside for your exercise.
The study followed nearly 500 school children ages 5-12 from Bogota, Colombia, for two-and-a-half years. They recorded levels of vitamin-D in their blood both at the beginning and at the end of the experiment, as well as indicators of obesity, namely weight, waist circumference and subscapular-to-triceps skin fold ratio (a.k.a. jiggly arm.)
At the end of the trial, the kids who lacked the most vitamin-D also scored the worst in each of the three categories. Additionally, girls deficient in vitamin-D were shorter, though it made no difference to the boys.
Certainly this could be attributed to correlation, not causation. It could just be that the most active children are outside more often, thus having less body fat and more vitamin-D. But it could also be that vitamin-D is a key nutrient in the regulation of our body weight and muscle mass.
I leave you with this thought. Back in the day, extreme body builders would schedule extended sunning periods in order to minimize their fat levels and maximize their muscle gains. It’s a practice that still continues today.
P.S. Go ahead and click on the link to the research paper. It is by far the shortest published piece of science I have ever seen.