The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3205.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 2

Abstract #69570

Prevalence and Predictors of Helmet Use by Skiers and Snowboarders at Ski Areas in Western North America in 2001

David B. Buller, PhD1, Peter A. Andersen, PhD2, Barbara J. Walkosz, PhD3, Michael D. Scott, PhD4, Gary R Cutter, PhD5, Mark B. Dignan, PhD, MPH6, and Jenifer H. Voeks, PhD1. (1) The Cooper Institute, 14023 Denver West Parkway, Suite 100, Golden, CO 80401, (720) 216-6610,, (2) School of Communication, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanille Way, San Diego, CA 92182, (3) Department of Communication, University of Colorado, Denver, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217, (4) Department of Communication, California State University, Chico, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA 95959, (5) Department of Medicine, University of Nevada, Applied Research Facility, Mail Stop 199, Reno, NV 89557, (6) Prevention Research Center, University of Kentucky, 2365 Harrodsburg Rd., Suite B100, Lexington, KY 40504

Research has generally shown a net protective effect of helmets in motorcycling, bicycling and other sports, so it is reasonable to assume that helmets would provide some head protection for skiers and snowboarders. Prevalence of helmet use was estimated from observations of 2,978 alpine skiers and snowboarders (70.6% male; 94.1% white) at 28 ski areas in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and British Columbia. Observations occurred on randomly selected three-day periods from January to April 2001 during face-to-face interviews about sun protection on chair lifts (0.7% refusal rate). Overall, 12.1% (95% CI = 11.0%, 13.3%) of the sample wore helmets. In a multivariate analysis, helmet use was highest among guests who skied or snowboarded more frequently (4th quartile v. 1st quartile Odds Ratio= 11.998 [95% CI=6.774, 21.251]; 3rd vs. 1st =5.556 [3.119, 9.896]; 2nd vs. 1st = 2.186 [1.162, 4.112]), were experts (3.326 [1.297, 8.528]), used snowboards (2.301 [1.731, 3.058]), and were more educated (college grad 2.167 [1.271, 3.695]; some college 1.969 [1.130, 3.431]). Race and age were unrelated to helmet use. Helmets were used by only a small number of skiers and snowboarders in 2001. Safety gear, such as helmets, may be acceptable to snowboarders who use them in other sports such as bicycling, rollerblading and skateboarding. Helmet use by snowboarders also could be stimulated by the larger number of upper body injuries they sustain, compared to skiers. Prevalence may be sufficiently high among experts and snowboarders to produce normative perceptions stimulating further adoption.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Injury Control, Data/Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Injury Control Posters: Selected Topics

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA