210400 Prevalence of sunscreen use and related behaviors among adults in the United States: Results from a national survey

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Richard Moser, PhD , Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
Adopting consistent sun protection practices (e.g, regular use of sunscreen) to reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) is the most effective way to prevent skin cancer. Increasingly though, the public is receiving mixed messages about sun safety and skin cancer prevention, due to media reports touting the health benefits of Vitamin D. Such messages have the potential to negatively impact sun protection practices by encouraging sun exposure in the absence of sunscreen. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to provide a national assessment of prevalence and trends of sunscreen use during the period from 2005 to 2007, and to describe sociodemographic factors associated with not using sunscreen. METHODS: Data for this analysis are from two iterations of the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 2005, 2007). Respondents were asked about their sunscreen practices, either as part of a random digit dialed telephone survey or a mail survey. Ordinal logistic regression was the method of analysis. RESULTS: The odds of engaging in high-risk sunscreen practices decreased between 2005 and 2007. In 2005, approximately 50% of respondents reported not using sunscreen, compared to 44% in 2007. Other predictors of not using sunscreen were being male, older, a current smoker, and underweight/overweight. CONCLUSIONS: In the face of mixed messages about sun protection, US adults appear to be using more sunscreen, not less. Despite this encouraging trend, nearly half the population is still not using sunscreen. The predictors of high-risk sunscreen practices identified in this study may inform future sun protection interventions.

Learning Objectives:
1) Participants will be able to identify changes in sun safety patterns as they relate to risk of skin cancer 2) Participants will be able to compare factors associated with sun safety across two sample periods 3) Participants will be able to describe risk factors associated with sun safety and discuss their potential relevance to intervention programs.

Keywords: Cancer, Cancer Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Tobacco control faculty at NCI
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.