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Women three times likelier to tan

Article-Women three times likelier to tan

Minneapolis — New research suggests that better public education on the risks of indoor tanning is needed, MedPage Today reports.

A University of Minnesota research team found that women are nearly three times as likely as men to use an indoor tanning bed — and that few adults, regardless of gender, think that avoiding indoor tanning salons is a way to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Investigators used the 2005 Health Information National Trends Study, a random telephone survey whose results were weighted to produce nationally representative estimates for the noninstitutionalized adult U.S. population.

Of the 2,869 survey participants, 821 were randomly selected to answer questions about their knowledge and attitudes about skin cancer prevention. Among other results, researchers found that:

•18.1 percent of women and 6.3 percent of men reported tanning indoors in the previous year.

•Indoor tanning was most common among 18- to 24-year-old men and women and declined steadily with age.

•Women who had less than a high school education or an annual income of less than $35,000 were less likely to report indoor tanning in the previous year than were high school graduates or those with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000.

Most participants questioned about their knowledge of skin cancer said using sunscreen, avoiding the sun and wearing a hat were good preventive measures. But only 13.3 percent of women and 4.2 percent of men suggested that avoiding indoor tanning might be beneficial. In addition, only 5.8 percent of women and 5.6 percent of men suggested getting tested for skin cancer.

The survey was reported in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology.

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