The Canadian Cancer Society has recommended that citizens of all ages should expose themselves to the sun for a few minutes each day and that elderly people should take Vitamin D supplements.
"We don't want people to run out and interpret this as: 'Oh good, I can stay out in the sun all day,' " said Heather Logan, the society's director of cancer-control policy. "A little sun goes a long way. You don't need to get a tan."
Ms Logan said that it was difficult to get the exact amount that the body needed, but every effort must be made to ensure that adequate reserves are maintained. "Most likely the right amount is somewhere between 200 and 2,000 international units of vitamin D daily," she said.
Susan Whiting, a spokeswoman for Dieticians of Canada, said that diet alone cannot provide the required quantity of Vitamin D, "You would need to drink three big glasses of milk and eat a tin of sardines every day to get adequate vitamin D," she said. "Fortification is the way to go. We need to get vitamin D into the food the people actually eat."
These new recommendations were drafted at a conference in March, which was attended by American Cancer Society, the Canadian Dermatology Association, Osteoporosis Canada, the American College of Rheumatology and the World Health Organization Centre for Promotion of Sun Protection.
The Cancer Society has recommended the following
200 international units up to age 50;
400 IU for those aged 50-70;
600 IU for people over the age of 70;
Breastfed babies should get vitamin D drops.