Sunscreen Less Popular Among Kids as They Get Older
Most kids stop using sunscreen as they go from elementary school to junior high school ages despite the fact that they’re spending more time in the sun, according to a new study.
Lead author Stephen Dusza, a researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues tracked preteens’ attitudes about protecting themselves from harmful UV rays.
The researchers asked 360 fifth-graders whether they had ever had sunburn, how much time they usually spent in the sun and whether they used sunscreen regularly. About half the subjects said they had suffered a sunburn the previous summer, and roughly half also said they typically wore sunscreen.
Three years later, only about 25 percent of the same group of children said they were using sunscreen regularly.
The older children also expressed more interest in “getting a tan,” saying that people looked better with suntans.
The study authors said the findings illustrate the need to reach out to preteens in order to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive sun exposure, noting that we should “promote sunscreen use in community settings such as beaches, after-school sites and sporting events.”
The research was part of a study published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics.