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Survey finds that Non-Caucasians do not feel that people need sun exposure – July 2012

Vitamin D Beliefs and Associations with Sunburns, Sun Exposure, and Sun Protection

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(7), 2386-2395; doi:10.3390/ijerph9072386
Bang Hyun Kim1, bangk at upenn.edu, Karen Glanz 1 and Eric J. Nehl 2
1 Center for Health Behavior Research, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 110 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Ave., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2 Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30222, USA
Received: 30 April 2012; in revised form: 12 June 2012 / Accepted: 28 June 2012 / Published: 4 July 2012

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sunbathing Habits and Skin Cancer)

Abstract: The main objective of this study was to examine certain beliefs about vitamin D and associations with sun exposure, sun protection behaviors, and sunburns. A total of 3,922 lifeguards, pool managers, and parents completed a survey in 2006 about beliefs regarding vitamin D and sun-related behaviors. Multivariate ordinal regression analyses and linear regression analysis were used to examine associations of beliefs and other variables. Results revealed that Non-Caucasian lifeguards and pool managers were less likely to agree that they needed to go out in the sun to get enough vitamin D.

Lifeguards and parents who were non-Caucasian were less likely to report that sunlight helped the body to produce vitamin D.
A stronger belief about the need to go out in the sun to get enough vitamin D predicted more sun exposure for lifeguards.
For parents, a stronger belief that they can get enough vitamin D from foods predicted greater sun protection and a stronger belief that sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D predicted lower sun exposure. This study provides information regarding vitamin D beliefs and their association with certain sun related behaviors across different demographic groups that can inform education efforts about vitamin D and sun protection.

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