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Are Muslim dress codes bad for women’s health?

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News Conservative Muslim dress codes may be causing vitamin D deficiency in women by limiting their exposure to sunlight, humans’ main source for the vitamin, according to new research. Scientists had previously found high rates of vitamin D deficiency in Arab and East Indian women living in the United Arab Emirates. A follow-up ...

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Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News

Conservative Muslim dress codes may be causing vitamin D deficiency in women by limiting their exposure to sunlight, humans’ main source for the vitamin, according to new research.

Scientists had previously found high rates of vitamin D deficiency in Arab and East Indian women living in the United Arab Emirates. A follow-up study investigated the effect of vitamin D supplements on 178 UAE women, many of whom covered themselves entirely, faces and hands included, when outside their homes. Only two of the women did not have vitamin D deficiency prior to receiving supplements. The results were published by a team of scientists in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

One of the researchers concludes, “When sunlight exposure … is limited, much higher dietary intake of vitamin D is needed than currently recommended,” particularly for those who breast-feed.

At least one commentator, though, is saying it’s not higher doses of vitamin D that are needed, but rather, lower doses of fundamentalism.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. @pjaroonFP

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