Thursday, November 16, 2006
According to New Zealand doctor, Doctor Glenn Twentyman from Child, Youth and Family Services at Wiri, South Auckland, hoodies can be a health risk because they block sunlight which causes a vitamin D deficiency, thus weak bones and low energy.
Dr Twentyman said: “It’s the hoodies and the hats and the downward glance of the teenagers, shading your face all the time.”
Dr Twentyman said that every young person that he had tested showed a deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps vital minerals to be absorbed into the bones. Vitamin D is given to our body from the sun. “A lot of these kids stay away from sunshine. They don’t hang out at the beach or in the bush. Some are into drugs and alcohol and a lot of it is indoor activity and night-time activity. They sleep during the day. They are wearing those hoods and literally they don’t get out in the sun.”
Even though vitamin D is usually absorbed through sun it can also be found in: fatty fish, liver, eggs, full fat milk and butter.
There is an increase in reports of vitamin D deficiency in Oceania. This is most likely because of people trying to cover up because of the higher risk of getting skin cancer due to the ozone hole over New Zealand. His comments come as evidence mounts of increasing vitamin D deficiency in Australasia, partly caused by covering up to avoid skin cancer. Also one student from Tangaroa College, Vincent Wesche, said that he wears a hoodie because “I don’t want to lose my hair,” also referring to rugby player, Carlos Spencer, “Carlos Spencer is starting to lose his hair from the sun.”
Doctor Cameron Grant, from Starship hospital in Auckland, said that he had done a study for four years which found that infants living in Auckland did have a deficiency of vitamin D. “We know that vitamin D deficiency is a health issue in New Zealand. We know that people who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency are for example groups who keep themselves clothed and keep themselves indoors for religious reasons … so his idea is not an unreasonable one.”
Another study also showed that 87% of pregnant woman living in Wellington were vitamin D deficient.
Dr Twentyman said that the people who are most likely to have a vitamin D deficiency are “depressed people and the elderly, such as those kept indoors in rest homes all day.”