Young people are opting to use indoor tanning devices more and are wearing sunscreen less; boosting their risk of skin cancer, says a new study.
According to research conducted by Corey H. Basch, EdD, MPH, an associate professor of public health at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, the percentage of young people who reported wearing sunscreen has declined from 67.7% in 2001 to 56.1%in 2011, and this is putting people at greater risk of skin cancer.
Basch is the lead author of the study published in the issue of the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, by the Centers for Disease Control.
Decline in sunscreen use
The study examined the use of sunscreen and indoor tanning devices among a nationally representative sample of high school students during a 10-year period (2001–2011) using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.
"This research suggests that adolescents continue to put themselves at risk for skin cancer," says Basch.
"Since UV exposure is such a major component in causing skin cancer, using sun protective behaviors like applying sunblock and avoiding intentional exposure to tanning devices will be key. Future prevention efforts definitely need to be focused at young people."
No decline in device use
Basch notes that the study found no great decline in the use of tanning devices among adolescents.
In addition, the study found that females were more likely to use indoor tanning devices (20.9% for females vs. 6.16% for males), and that the use of such devices was highest among white females (29.3%).
Dr Basch's research is focused on health communication cancer education, and cancer screening, and her findings have been published in numerous academic journals.
A certified health education specialist, she holds master's degrees in public health, nutrition education, communication, and education, and cognition and learning, as well as a doctorate all from Teachers College, Columbia University.