Determinants of sunbed use in a population of Danish adolescents

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In Denmark, melanoma is the most common type of cancer in individuals aged 15–34 years. Ultraviolet radiation from sunbeds is a risk factor for melanoma. Knowledge of the characteristics of sunbed users is important in the development and implementation of prevention strategies of sunbed use. The objective of this study was to examine sunbed use and its association with smoking, parental socioeconomic status (SES), friends’ attitudes towards artificial tanning, and school environment among adolescents aged 14–18 years at continuation schools in Denmark. We conducted a survey among adolescents in Danish continuation schools in 2011. We examined sunbed use and its association with age, smoking, friends’ attitudes towards artificial tanning, parental SES, and shared environment of the continuation school, using logistic regression. Within the past 12 months, 38% of the pupils had used a sunbed (70% girls and 28% boys). There was no difference in sunbed use according to age. Smoking and friends’ positive attitudes towards, and higher use of sunbeds were associated with increased use of sunbeds. High SES of mothers’ was associated with lower odds for sunbed use among girls. The association of school environment with sunbed use was modest compared with the other variables. Adolescents in continuation schools report a higher use of sunbeds than Danish adolescents as such. Educational interventions should be targeted at preteens, as sunbed use is common in 14-year-olds. Special educational tools are tested in the continuation school environment and may prove effective in this population.

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