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Overexposure to Sun Cuts Heart Disease Risk

Update Date: Sep 23, 2013 12:12 PM EDT

Having fun in the sun can help prevent heart attacks and early death, according to new research.

While previous research reveals that exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer, a new study reveals that it may also slash the risk of cardiovascular disease, premature death and broken bones.

Danish scientists from the University of Copenhagen looked at health records of more than 4 million people over the age of 40. They found that people who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer were 4 percent less likely to have suffered a heart attack. Non-melanoma skin cancer, one of the most common cancers in the world, develops in the upper layers of the skin. However, the cancer has a high survival rate. This cancer is different from the more serious and rare melanoma that can spread quickly to other parts of the body.

These people were also half as likely to have died young and their bones were stronger.

"The overall data indirectly suggest that sun exposure for many individuals may have beneficial health effects and therefore question the widespread advice that sun exposure should be avoided," researchers wrote in the study.

The findings are published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

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