Sunbathing habits and sunscreen use among white adults: results of a national survey

Am J Public Health. 1997 Jul;87(7):1214-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.87.7.1214.


Objectives: This study assessed current levels of sunbathing and sunscreen use in the United States.

Methods: From a general-population telephone survey of aquatic activities among adults in 3042 US households, we examined responses by the 2459 Whites.

Results: Most adults (59%) reported sunbathing during the past year, and 25% reported frequent sunbathing. Of the subsample who reported sunbathing during the month before the interview, 47% routinely used sunscreen. Of these individuals, almost half did not use sunscreens with a solar protection factor of 15 or higher.

Conclusions: About a quarter of US White adults report frequent sunbathing, and only about a quarter of sunbathers use sunscreens at recommended levels. These results should help focus future sun protection educational efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Sunlight*
  • Sunscreening Agents*
  • United States


  • Sunscreening Agents