Where skin color matters: For Black Americans, the sun is part of a revolving debate

April 23, 2009

USA Today

Can dark skin be a health hazard? It might be — if you are a dark-skinned person who lives far from the equator, gets little sun exposure and consumes little vitamin D.

That describes many African Americans and helps explain why studies find that average African-American children and adults have much lower blood levels of the vitamin than white Americans do. Vitamin D is produced in response to sun exposure in a process that works most efficiently in pale skin. It's also in fortified dairy products and fatty fish, but few Americans — of any skin color — consume enough of those foods to meet recommendations... Read More