Recreational sun exposure accounts for a large number of acute and chronic dermatological diseases, including skin cancer. This study aimed at estimating the one-year prevalence of sun exposure and skin health-associated knowledge and attitudes among Austrian citizens. The population-based UVSkinRisk survey investigated a representative sample of Austrian adults using a structured questionnaire. In total, 1500 study subjects (median age 33.0 years, 50.5% females) participated in this questionnaire survey. Among study participants, prevalence of sun exposure was 47%, with slightly higher rates in males (48%) compared to females (46%). Younger age, lower professional category, darker skin type, motives to tan, sunbed use, sunburn, and outdoor sport activity increased the odds for prevalent sun exposure. This is the first population-based study evaluating the prevailing sun exposure and recreational habits influencing skin health among Austrian citizens. Despite public media campaigns educating on the harmful effects of sunlight exposure, we found a high prevalence of self-reported sunlight exposure. The results suggest that multifaceted socio-cultural characteristics stimulate recreational sun exposure and tanning habits. Communicating individualized Public (Skin) Health messages might be the key to prevent photo-induced skin health hazards in light-skinned populations. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited