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Vitamin D and sun protection : the impact of mixed public health messages in Australia

Youl, Philippa, Janda, Monika, & Kimlin, Michael G. (2009) Vitamin D and sun protection : the impact of mixed public health messages in Australia. International Journal of Cancer, 124(8), pp. 1963-1970.

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Abstract

Exposure of the skin to sunlight can cause skin cancer and is also necessary for cutaneous vitamin D production. Media reports have highlighted the purported health benefits of vitamin D. Our aim was to examine attitudes and behaviours related to sun protection and vitamin D. A cross-sectional study of 2,001 residents in Queensland, Australia aged 20-70 years was undertaken. Information collected included: skin cancer risk factors; perceptions about levels of sun exposure required to maintain vitamin D; belief that sun protection increases risk of vitamin D deficiency; intention, and actual change in sun protection practices for adults and children. Multivariate models examined predictors of attitudinal and behavioural change. One-third (32%) believed a fair-skinned adult, and 31% thought a child required at least 30 minutes per day in summer sun to maintain vitamin D levels. Reductions in sun protection were reported by 21% of adults and 14% of children. Factors associated with belief that sun protection may result in not obtaining enough vitamin D included aged ≥ 60 years (OR=1.35, 95% CI 1.09-1.66) and having skin that tanned easily (OR=1.96, 95% CI 1.38-2.78). Participants from low income households, and those who frequently used sun protective clothing were more likely to have reduced sun protection practices (OR=1.33, 95% CI 1.10-1.73 and OR=1.73, 95% CI 1.36-2.20, respectively). This study provides evidence of reductions in sun protection practices in a population living in a high UV environment. There is an urgent need to re-focus messages regarding sun exposure and for continued sun protection practices.

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30 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 30381
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Vitamin D, Skin Cancer, Sun Protection, Ultraviolet
DOI: 10.1002/ijc.24154
ISSN: 0020-7136
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Counselling (111710)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Promotion (111712)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 UICC
Deposited On: 18 Feb 2010 08:44
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2014 16:16

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