Aims: To study sun-protective behaviors among skiers and snowboarders on the South Island of New Zealand and to identify associations with personal characteristics or weather conditions.
Methods: Two hundred twenty-six skiers and snowboarders completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire during September and October 2002. Reported behaviors were used to derive a composite sun-protection index, which was used to divide the sample into "protected" and "unprotected" groups. Odds ratios of being unprotected were calculated by logistic regression.
Results: Forty-eight percent (95% CI 42-54%) of interviewees recalled being sunburned while skiing or snowboarding in the past. Sixty-eight percent (95% CI 62-74%) were unaware of any educational messages specific to sun protection while skiing or snowboarding. Women were more likely to be protected from the sun (OR 0.47; 95% CI 0.27-0.81). Having a skin type resistant to burning (OR 1.93; 95% CI 0.92-4.06) and reported awareness of education messages (OR 1.66; 95% CI 0.92-2.99) were associated with not using sun protection.
Conclusions: Sunburn is common and sun protection not used by all. Men are less likely to report use of sun-protection measures. There is no evidence from this study that current strategies are effective in promoting skin protection while skiing or snowboarding.