Published in TaskForce on Dancer Health Informational Papers
Adequate Vitamin D and calcium are crucial to maintain proper bone health. In the last decade, Vitamin D deficiency throughout the world has risen dramatically.
- 77% of the population in the United States lack adequate levels of Vitamin D.
- In 2010, a study of dancers from Israel found that 94% had low Vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D enables calcium to be absorbed in the gut, rather than the body taking the calcium from the bones, which in turn prevents osteopenia or osteoporosis.
The primary source (90%) of vitamin D is from UVB rays from sun exposure. The amount of Vitamin D formation from the sun depends on the season, latitude, and skin color. Living closest to the equator allows for year-round Vitamin D production from the sun. However, as one progresses further from the equator, the UVB exposure diminishes during the winter months. Additionally, melanin blocks UVB light which diminishes Vitamin D production, so dancers with darker skin need longer sun exposure (up to 10 times as much) for adequate Vitamin D production. Furthermore, sun block or sunscreen with SPF greater than 8 also blocks UVB light preventing Vitamin D formation. …