News

Put on some sunscreen!

Put on some sunscreen!

CATCHING SOME RAYS: Avoiding over-exposure to the sun is particularly important during childhood and adolescence, the study said. Photo: clipart.com

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Fewer U.S. teenagers are using sunscreen, even as skin cancer rates increase, a study found.

The percentage of high school students using sunscreen dropped from 67.7 percent in 2001 to 56.1 percent in 2011, according to the study by researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey and published Thursday in the publication Preventing Chronic Disease.

The study analyzed survey data from high school students collected for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

The drop in sunscreen use occurred as melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, increased 1.6 percent annually among men from 2001 to 2010 and 1.4 percent among women, the study said.

“It’s alarming,” said Corey Basch, assistant professor of public heath at William Paterson and one of the study’s authors. “Given that the rates of skin cancer and melanoma are going up, we would have liked to have seen sun protection measures also going up.”

The CDC recommends using sunscreen and avoiding tanning beds to avoid developing skin cancer.

Avoiding over-exposure to the sun is particularly important during childhood and adolescence, the study said.

The findings point to the need for a greater push to inform teenagers on the dangers of sun exposure, said Basch.

“What we really need is to change the mindset that having this artificially tanned skin is attractive,” she said.

In Australia, a massive public information campaign called “Slip Slop Slap” included handing out free sunscreen at beaches and was effective in increasing sun protection, Basch said. Television ads showed beachgoers wearing hats and shirts.

“Over time, it really transformed how people envisioned a beach day,” Basch said. “It was no longer just frying yourself, so to speak, on a beach in a string bikini.”

While the use of sunscreen by teenagers is dropping in the United States, so is the use of indoor tanning devices, the study said.

From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of respondents using tanning devices dropped from 15.6 percent to 13.3 percent, the study said. However, the decrease was so small that it is not considered significant, Basch said.

(Reporting by David Adams)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Member of Jesse White Tumblers Shot

Murdered Chicago teen a member of Jesse White Tumblers.

in Local

Durbin Weighs In on Senate Proposal to Revoke NFL Non-Profit Status

dickdurbin1

Dick Durbin says he's still deciding on the U.S. Senate proposal that would revoke the NFL's non-profit designation.

in Local

Rauner Tells GOP Not to Expect Favors if He is Elected

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner says he won't offer any patronage jobs to GOP members if he wins.

in Local

Illinois Awards $25.8M in Health Outreach Grants

Health

Most of the same Illinois organizations that helped consumers sign up for insurance in the first year of the Affordable Care Act will receive additional funding for a second year.

in Local

Quinn: No Point in Plan B for Pension Overhaul

pension

Amid signals that Illinois' pension overhaul could be found unconstitutional, Gov. Pat Quinn argued Friday that it makes no sense to develop a contingency plan.