30 minutes of sun lowers MS risk in kids

Published 03 March 2021

Spending more time in the sun during summer is strongly protective for very early-onset multiple sclerosis (MS), as is residing in a sunnier location, according to a new study which was presented at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) forum.

There has long been an association between MS and vitamin D – or the lack of it.

Children with MS and controls recruited from multiple centres in the USA were matched on sex and age. Researchers investigated the association of time spent outdoors in summer, use of sun protection, ambient summer UVR levels and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D with MS risk, adjusting for sex, age, race, birth season, child’s skin colour, mother’s education, smoke exposure, being overweight and Epstein-Barr virus infection.

Compared to spending less than 30 minutes outdoors daily during the most recent summer, spending between 30 minutes and one hour was associated with 2.6-fold reduced risk of MS and spending between one and two hours with 7.4-fold reduced risk. Higher summer ambient UVR levels were also protective for MS.