Call to make vitamin D a food additive
Increasing exposure to sunshine also means increasing the risks of skin cancer.
VITAMIN D should be added to more Australian foods to prevent widespread deficiencies, a conference will be told today.
About 30 per cent of the Australian population has low levels of vitamin D, which is mostly absorbed through the skin after exposure to direct sunlight.
But with one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, it's difficult for Australians to absorb the recommended amount without increasing skin cancer risk, Deakin University researcher Caryl Nowson said.
Vitamin D levels often drop among people living in southern states, she said.
Professor Nowson said Australia should follow the lead of countries such as Canada and add more vitamin D to the food supply.
She said studies had shown that boosting vitamin D levels could prevent falls and fractures in the elderly and reduce mortality rates.