Every parent knows that adequate exposure to sunlight is an essential component of a child’s health and growth. The sun is a vital source of Vitamin D which is a critical component of not just building strong bones, but overall good health and physical development. Unfortunately, children in this country are becoming increasingly deprived of sunlight and the effects on their health are increasing at an alarming rate. This is not scaremongering.
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that “50 percent of children aged 1 to 5 years old, and 70 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11, are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D.” The Hopkins Children’s Center says that “60 percent of children may have sub optimal levels of vitamin D. Prolonged and untreated vitamin D deficiency can affect multiple organs and functions, including bone growth and density, metabolism, heart and immunity, but it rarely causes overt symptoms and often goes unnoticed.
Vitamin D deficiency in childhood can cause skeletal deformities, brittle bones, frequent fractures and lead to premature osteoporosis in later life. However emerging evidence suggests that vitamin D is involved in far more than bone health. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and some cancers, heart disease, suppressed immunity and even premature death.”
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Today’s children spend too much time indoors. Hours spent in classrooms, at home doing homework, watching TV or on the computer leave little time for spending time outdoors in the sun. While parents do encourage their children to be outdoors, there is often just not enough time. In addition, there are now issues of the health effects of pollution and excessive sun exposure that often cause parents to be unsure about how much time to allow their children to spend time outside and also the reason for the increasing use of sunscreen among kids. Sunscreen may protect against skin cancer and excessive tanning, but it also blocks off Vitamin D.
The simplest solution to the problem is to ensure that children are in natural daylight even when they are indoors. Windows may allow for fresh air to enter a house, but the amount of light that enters is limited and affected by the time of day and the season. Installing daylighting systems in a home is a simple and effective way to bring sunlight inside. Roof-mounted natural light collectors capture sunlight and this is carried to every part of the house by using high tech tubing. Even those parts of the house that have access to very light natural light through windows and skylights can now be filled with sunlight. The children, and the adults, in the home will now have access to natural sunlight in a safe form that protects their skin and leaves any pollution outside.
Daylighting – Simple and Economical
Modern state-of-the-art daylighting systems can be installed in just a few hours and are both elegant to look at and long-lasting. Another huge advantage is that once installed they run for free, resulting in major savings on the amount of electricity that is used for lighting during the day.