Trends in sun protection behaviours

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Skin Cancer Stats & Issues > Trends in sun protection behaviours

The findings from three national surveys[1] during summers between 2003-04 and 2010-11 show that sun protection compliance while outdoors on the weekend during peak UV radiation hours was relatively low (Tables 1 & 2). Australian adolescents were less compliant than adults on all measures except sunscreen use.

When demographics and weather factors were controlled for, improvements in sun protection over time were variable and only noted among adults whose compliance still far from ideal. However, there was a sustained decrease in weekend sunburn in 2006-10 compared with 2003-04 among adolescents and adults, after controlling for UV radiation levels and demographics.[1] Nonetheless, a substantial 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 8 adolescents were sunburnt on average summer weekends in 2010-11.


Table 1 Trends in adolescents’ weekend sun protection behaviours and sunburn [1]

Adolescents (12 – 17), n= 2,718 2003-04 2006-07 2010-11 Significant changes in 2010-11 %
Respondents outdoors > 15 minutes 80% 82% 77% ↓ since 2006-07
Time spent outdoors (minutes) 110 111 112 no change
Hat used 38% 29% 23% ↓ since 2003-04
Sunscreen used (at least SPF15+) 37% 37% 37% no change
¾ or long sleeved top worn 11% 9% 11% no change
¾ or long leg cover worn 37% 30% 28% ↓ since 2003-04
Sunglasses 23% 24% 24% no change
Stayed mostly in the shade 19% 20% 21% no change
Two or more sun protective behaviours 29% 22% 24% ↓ since 2003-04
Weekend sunburn 25% 24% 21% ↓ since 2003-04 & 2006-07


Table 2 Trends in adults’ weekend sun protection behaviours and sunburn[1]

Adults (18 – 69), n= 15,570 2003-04 2006-07 2010-11 Significant changes in 2010-11 %
Respondents outdoors > 15 minutes 73% 67% 66% ↓ since 2003-04
Time spent outdoors (minutes) 118 116 111 ↓ since 2003-04 & 2006-07
Hat used 48% 50% 45% ↓ since 2003-04 & 2006-07
Sunscreen used (at least SPF15+) 33% 37% 36% ↑ since 2003-04
¾ or long sleeved top worn 18% 19% 19% ↑ since 2006-07
¾ or long leg cover worn 46% 44% 44% no change
Sunglasses 55% 58% 57% no change
Stayed mostly in the shade 27% 27% 28% no change
Two or more sun protective behaviours 32% 32% 44% no change
Weekend sunburn 18% 14% 13% ↓ since 2003-04 & 2006-07


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Volkov A, Dobbinson S, Wakefield M, Slevin T. Seven-year trends in sun protection and sunburn among Australian adolescents and adults. Aust N Z J Public Health 2013 Feb;37(1):63-9 Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23379808.

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