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Behavioral Counseling can encourage Sun Protective Behavior among the Young Population

CDC and the National Cancer Institute analyzed the data obtained from the National Health Interview Survey held in the years 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010 to evaluate trends in sunburn and sun protective behaviors among people aged 18-29 years. The participants were asked about their sun protective habits like how often they stayed in shade, whether they wore wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing, and how often they used sunscreen when outdoors. They were also asked about the SPF levels of their sunscreens.

It was seen that more than 50% of the young adults and 65.6% of whites suffered from at least one sunburn in the last 12 months. Most of the women preferred to stay in shade or use sunscreen to protect them from sun but they were least likely to wear long protective clothing or wide brimmed hats. However, the overall percentage of women wearing long clothing till ankles increased from 21.1% in 2005 to 25.7% in 2010. The percentage of women who preferred to stay in shade increased from 29.4%- 30.5% between the years 2000 to 2008, to 34.9% in 2010. While white women generally avoided the use of shade, black women were least likely to use sunscreens.

Most of the men preferred long clothing to the ankles as a protection against the sun. However, they were likely to avoid full sleeves shirt or wide brimmed hats. The use of sunscreens stood around 15.6%. The rate of sun burn showed a decreasing trend between the years 2000 and 2005, but increased again in 2010.

The researchers noticed that only 37.1% of women and 15.6% of men used sunscreen most of the time. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has suggested that behavioral counseling can encourage sun protective behavior among the young population. Appropriate changes should be made in the environmental and policies so that enough shaded spaces are created in recreational areas. These changes are essential to reduce the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers, currently the most common malignancies affecting the U.S. population.


Friday, May 11, 2012