Sunbathers live longer than people who avoid the sun, according to a new study published online on March 16 in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Nevertheless, the researchers say that they are unsure why this is so, hence they suggest more studies to delve into this.

Individuals with active sun exposure habits were less likely to suffer from heart disease, non-cancer and other non-cardiovascular deaths. On the other hand, those who avoid sun exposure reduced their life expectancy by 0.6 to 2.1 years.

The study involved investigating the sun exposure of 29,518 women from Sweden, ages 25 to 64 years at the beginning of the research. These women were recruited between 1990 through 1992 and were followed up 20 years later.

Sun exposure increases life expectancy. Photo from Pixabay/422737

Sun exposure increases life expectancy. Photo from Pixabay/422737

Through the researchers’ analysis using modern survival statistics, they concluded that those women with active sun exposure habits lived longer than non-sunbathers. Still, these women were at an increased risk of getting cancer.

Moreover, the research team also found that those women who did not smoke and avoided sun exposure had the same life expectancy observed in women who smoked and had the highest sun exposure. The study shows that avoiding sun exposure might just be as bad as smoking.

“We found smokers in the highest sun exposure group were at a similar risk as non-smokers avoiding sun exposure, indicating avoidance of sun exposure to be a risk factor of the same magnitude as smoking,” asserts the study’s lead author Pelle Lindqvist. “Guidelines being too restrictive regarding sun exposure may do more harm than good for health.”

This new study echoes a previous one conducted in Queensland, Australia. The results showed that sun exposure protects one from pancreatic cancer.

The researchers found that people born in areas with highest ultraviolet radiation levels have 24 percent lower risk of getting cancer. On top of that, individuals with sun-related skin problems or skin cancer history experienced 40 percent lower chances of getting pancreatic cancer.