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Doctor survey: 64 pct feel 10 minutes of sun is enough, 33 pct say use sunscreen winter – May 2012

Survey of 500 Australian general practitioners' practices and attitudes about vitamin D

Billie Bonevski1,†,*, Afaf Girgis1, Parker Magin2, Graeme Horton2, Irena Brozek3, Bruce Armstrong4
International Journal of Cancer; Volume 130, Issue 9, pages 2138–2145, 1 May 2012
1 The Centre for Health Research & Psycho-oncology (CHeRP), Cancer Council New South Wales, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
2 Discipline of General Practice, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
3 Cancer Council NSW, Woolloomooloo, NSW, Australia
4 Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
Tel.:+61-2-49138-619, Fax: +61-2-49138-601
Email: Billie Bonevski (billie.bonevski@newcastle.edu.au)
*Senior Research Academic, Centre for Health Research & Psycho-oncology (CHeRP), Cancer Council NSW & the University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, NSW, Australia

This study aimed to assess the attitudes, practices and knowledge of general practitioners (GPs) with regards to vitamin D. A cross-sectional survey of a random sample of GPs stratified by location of practice (rural/remote or metropolitan) and employment status (full-time or part-time) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia was conducted.

Of 500 respondents,

  • 58.1% (95% CI 53.8–62.4) reported that up to 39% of their tested patients showed vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency and a further
  • 37.7% (95% CI 33.5–41.9) of respondents said that over 40% of their patients were vitamin D insufficient.

Vitamin D supplementation and advice to receive more natural sunlight were the most common ways vitamin D insufficiency was managed (

  • (supplementation) 97.1%; 95% CI 95.6–98.6 and
  • (natural sunlight) 82%, 95% CI 78.6–85.4, respectively).

Some gaps in knowledge were identified.
Most respondents (64%; 95% CI 59.8–68.2) believed that a person of average sun sensitivity required 10 min of direct sun exposure during summer in peak UV time and a further 21.6% (95% CI 18.0–25.2) believed that people required 30 min of direct sun.

A third of respondents (33.1%; 95% CI 29.0–37.2) advised their patients to use sun protection at all times during winter.
In general, the attitude items showed that respondents expressed greater concern about vitamin D deficiency than skin cancer. The results reveal some confusion in general practice regarding vitamin D, sun exposure, sun protection and skin cancer risk. Some of the advice that GPs are offering may needlessly increase their patients' risk for vitamin D insufficiency or skin cancer.
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See also VitaminDWiki

5-10 minutes is enough IF you are near the equator
AND young
  AND not obese
     AND have light skin
      AND it is summer
        AND it is the middle of the day
          AND you have lots of skin exposed to the sun
            AND you are lying down
              AND you are not wearing sunscreen.

McKenzie - 2009.pdf is on the same page

see wikipage http://www.vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=1689