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CONTEXT: Seasonal variation in cold and light exposure may influence metabolic health. OBJECTIVE: We assessed the associations of bright sunlight and outdoor temperature with measures of glucose and lipid metabolism in two populations of middle-aged European subjects. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Two population-based European cohorts. PARTICIPANTS: Middle-aged nondiabetic subjects from the Oxford Biobank (OBB; N = 4327; mean age, 41.4 years) and the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study (N = 5899; mean age, 55.6 years). INTERVENTIONS: Data on outdoor bright sunlight and temperature collected from local weather stations. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Insulin resistance and fasting lipid levels. Multivariable regression analyses were adjusted for age, sex, percentage body fat, season, and either outdoor temperature or bright sunlight. RESULTS: In the OBB cohort, increased bright sunlight exposure was associated with lower fasting insulin [-1.27% (95% CI, -2.09 to -0.47%) per extra hour of bright sunlight], lower homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (-1.36%; 95% CI, -2.23 to -0.50), lower homeostatic model assessment for β-cell function (-0.80%; 95% CI, -1.31 to -0.30), and lower triglyceride (-1.28%; 95% CI, -2.07 to -0.50) levels. In the NEO cohort generally unidirectional but weaker associations were observed. No associations between outdoor temperature and measures of glucose or lipid metabolism were detected following adjustment for bright sunlight. CONCLUSIONS: Bright sunlight, but not outdoor temperature, might be associated with increased insulin sensitivity and lower triglyceride levels.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Endocrinol Metab

Publication Date





2903 - 2910