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

14 hours ago in Election 2016, National

Fiorina drops out of the presidential race

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina waits to be introduced at a campaign event at Maple Avenue Elementary School Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Goffstown, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The former technology executive announced on Twitter that she is suspending her campaign.

16 hours ago in Election 2016, National

Christie expected to end 2016 White House bid

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie embraces his son Patrick during a primary night rally in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. At left is Christie's older son Andrew and wife Mary Pat at right. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Christie had banked his presidential prospects on a strong finish in New Hampshire, but finished behind most Republican rivals.

17 hours ago in National

Yellen: Fed not likely to reverse course on rates despite risks

U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies at the House Financial Services Committee in Washington February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Chances are slim the Federal Reserve would need to reverse the rate tightening cycle it began in December.

17 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Twitter to change homepage to customize tweet displays to individuals

A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration picture made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The change to the timeline - as the homepage is known - is also designed to appeal to advertisers.

21 hours ago in National

Senate to vote on hitting North Korea with tougher sanctions

northkorea

The Senate is considering legislation to hit North Korea with more stringent sanctions.