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March 1998

Melanocytic Nevi in Sun-Protected Canadian Hutterite Children

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(3):379-381. doi:

Previous research suggests that there is a relationship between exposure to sunlight and total number of melanocytic nevi (MN). Melanocytic nevi appear predominantly on sun-exposed body parts.1-3 Total body counts of MN increase from almost zero at birth4 to a peak value near age 16 years.1,5 Rates of increase and final peak values are higher with greater sun exposure of decreasing latitude.5 The present study sought to elucidate the role of sunlight by investigating total body nevi in a white population that experiences minimal sun exposure. Hutterite society is a Christian sect with a rural, communal, agrarian lifestyle. This religious group was chosen for this study because of its strict adherence to a dress code. Traditional clothing worn by all members covers all areas of the body except the face and hands, with occasional exposure of forearms because the members wear rolled-up or short sleeves. One would predict that the total number of MN would be lower in Hutterite children than in children from a population without a comparable dress code.