Knowledge and attitudes about Vitamin D and impact on sun protection practices among urban office workers in Brisbane, Australia

Vu, Lan H., van der Pols, Jolieke C., Whiteman, David C., Kimlin, Michael G., & Neale, Rachel E. (2010) Knowledge and attitudes about Vitamin D and impact on sun protection practices among urban office workers in Brisbane, Australia. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 19(7), pp. 1784-1789.

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Background: Sun exposure is the main source of vitamin D. Increasing scientific and media attention to the potential health benefits of sun exposure may lead to changes in sun exposure behaviors.

Methods: To provide data that might help frame public health messages, we conducted an online survey among office workers in Brisbane, Australia, to determine knowledge and attitudes about vitamin D and associations of these with sun protection practices. Of the 4,709 people invited to participate, 2,867 (61%) completed the questionnaire. This analysis included 1,971 (69%) participants who indicated that they had heard about vitamin D.

Results: Lack of knowledge about vitamin D was apparent. Eighteen percent of people were unaware of the bone benefits of vitamin D but 40% listed currently unconfirmed benefits. Over half of the participants indicated that more than 10 minutes in the sun was needed to attain enough vitamin D in summer, and 28% indicated more than 20 minutes in winter. This was significantly associated with increased time outdoors and decreased sunscreen use. People believing sun protection might cause vitamin D deficiency (11%) were less likely to be frequent sunscreen users (summer odds ratio, 0.63; 95% confidence interval, 0.52-0.75).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there is some confusion about sun exposure and vitamin D, and that this may result in reduced sun-protective behavior.

Impact: More information is needed about vitamin D production in the skin. In the interim, education campaigns need to specifically address the vitamin D issue to ensure that skin cancer incidence does not increase.

Impact and interest:

23 citations in Scopus
18 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 38443
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published OnlineFirst June 22, 2010
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Sun exposure, vitamin D, sun-protective behavior
DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0127
ISSN: 1538-7755
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 American Association for Cancer Research
Deposited On: 10 Nov 2010 21:32
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2017 06:40

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