Briton urged to go out in the midday sun

Englishmen – and other Britons – were yesterday urged to go out in the midday sun to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D.

Contrary to the cover-up message in Noel Coward's song about "mad dogs and Englishmen", experts now say some unprotected sun exposure is necessary for good health.

A consensus statement by seven leading health groups and charities recommends 10 to 15 minutes of bare skin exposure three times a week in the summer.

Preferably, surrendering your body to the sun should take place at midday, say the experts.

But a big part of the message is that people should "never be red" at the end of the day. After 10 to 15 minutes it is time to go indoors, cover up or slap on the sunscreen.

The new guidance is intended to make it clear that "little and frequent" sun exposure is now officially considered a good thing.

Professor Rona Mackie, from the British Association of Dermatologists and University of Glasgow, said: "We have to put over the message that sunshine is enjoyable. Some of the messages have been a bit too negative."