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Abstract Vitamin D is crucial for calcium and bone metabolism. Overweight people have been found to have lower levels of this vitamin. The aim of the paper was to test if sun exposure habits might differ according to weight and body fat per cent in a random population-based sample, and have an impact on vitamin D levels. The analysis of 367 persons showed that, among other established factors, differences in sunbathing also explain the lower vitamin D levels in overweight and elderly individuals.