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J Adolesc Health. 2012 Mar;50(3):304-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.04.024. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

Trends in sunscreen use among U.S. high school students: 1999-2009.

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Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway North East, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



To examine trends in sunscreen use during 1999-2009 among U.S. high school students.


Data from the 1999-2009 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys were analyzed. The surveys used a three-stage cluster sample design to produce nationally representative samples of students in grades 9-12 attending public and private schools. Student participation in the survey was anonymous and voluntary. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire during a regular class period. The overall response rates ranged from 63% to 72%.


During 1999-2009, the percentage of white students who never or rarely wore sunscreen when outside on a sunny day for >1 hour increased (from 57.5% to 69.4%), as did the percentage among Hispanic students (from 71.6% to 77.9%). This increase was most pronounced among white female students. The percentage of white and Hispanic students who most of the time or always wore sunscreen decreased during this same period. Rates of sunscreen use did not change among black students.


Because of declines in sunscreen use, professionals in clinical, school, and community settings should emphasize the important role sunscreen may play in preventing skin cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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