The trademark frigid darkness of the Nordic climate can be dangerous for "dark-skinned" people, especially for women who choose to wear all-covering clothing for religious reasons, national broadcaster SVT informed its viewers.
According to SVT, the Swedish weather may prove particularly difficult to suffer for those hailing from the Middle East and Africa, who adhere to the Islamic code.
The national broadcaster stressed that people with dark skin and women who wear comprehensive clothing develop vitamin D deficiencies quicker than others and thus need extra supplements to cope with the challenges posed by the weather.
SVT interviewed Sahra, a Somali mother of three, who has been living in the Swedish town of Borlänge for 15 years. Sahra explained that she feels chronically sick and has recently been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. She said she felt feeble and tired all the time and largely influenced by the "darkness outside" to stay indoors.
"Living in this cold weather is burdensome", Sahra complained to SVT.
Meanwhile, links between wearing comprehensive Islamic garments like the burqa and the niqab and vitamin D deficiency have been pointed out before, as regular exposure to sunlight is the most natural way of getting enough vitamin D.
A 2015 study in Borlänge, Sahra's home town, found that 9 out of 10 pregnant Somali women in Sweden suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency, which, coupled with other risk factors, can contribute to a child developing autism. Incidentally, this diagnosis is three to four times more common among children with Somali background, the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported. Among other things, this problem was linked with full veils that don't let sunrays through.
"There were terribly low levels, in one third of the cases [the vitamin D] was even undetectable", Monica Löfvander, associate professor at the Centre for Clinical Research in Västerås, told Svenska Dagbladet.
At present, there is a general recommendation to prescribe vitamin D tablets to anyone who is either dark-skinned or wearing comprehensive clothing. But for many it would be a far too low of a dose, midwife Kristina Wally-Byström argued.
Nutritionist and doctor of medical science Linda Bakkman also identified burqa-wearing dark-skinned ladies as a risk group as regards vitamin D deficiency, which may result in cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The number of Muslims living in Sweden has been estimated at around 800,000, or roughly 8 percent of Sweden's population of about 10 million. At over 90,000, the Somalis are the largest population group from Africa living in Sweden.