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Glob Health Promot. 2010 Dec;17(4):24-31.

Young park users' attitudes and behaviour to sun protection.

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HCML Health & Case Management Limited, Melrose House, 42 Dingwall Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 2NE, United Kingdom.


The increase in skin cancer prevalence globally has prompted a range of health promotion sun safety initiatives. An area where evidence has been lacking is on the long-term impact of some of these initiatives on the attitudes and sun protection behaviour of young adults and of the sun protection measures used by people using city parks. This article disseminates a study that examined the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of 18- to 28-year-old Caucasian park users. An interview questionnaire was used with behaviour validation incorporated to corroborate the results and reduce recall bias. A cross comparison of answers and placement into pre-coded responses were made at regular intervals to ensure consistency of data collection. Knowledge of risks associated with sun exposure and knowledge of sun protection methods was high. The most common sources of knowledge on skin cancer prevention were parents and family, followed by television, then magazines and newspapers. Surprisingly, the citing of school sun safety health promotion initiatives as a source of knowledge was low. The vast majority of females and males felt that a suntan had aesthetic qualities and made them look more attractive and healthy. Only a small number of the participants' sun protection behaviour in the park corresponded with their reported normal sun protection behaviour. Males in this study use sunscreen less than females. Females also used sunscreen with a higher sun protection factor. Seeking a tan is intentional behaviour undertaken by the majority of the participants, although females were more likely to seek a tan in comparison to males. The majority of participants had experienced sunburn in the summer period with some reporting severe sunburn. Recommendations are made for a gender specific health promotion approach, which targets familial education with a supportive environment in the school or public domain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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