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Sun-Protective Behavior Rates

National surveys supported by CDC indicate that youth and adults in the United States are being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and can do more to protect themselves.

Adults

In 2015, 71% of adults said they usually or always practice at least one of the three sun-protective behaviors (use sunscreen, wear sun-protective clothing, or seek shade).1

  • 34% reported applying sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • 38% reported wearing sun-protective clothing.
  • 39% reported seeking shade.
  • Only 61% of young adults aged 18 to 24 used one or more sun protective methods, while 72% of those 25 years of age and older reported using one or more methods. Among adult men, 67% reported usually using one or more methods of sun protection, in contrast to 75% of adult women.

More than one-third of U.S. adults reported a sunburn in the previous year, with rates higher among men and the non-Hispanic white population.2

Teens

Among high school students, 13% of girls and 7% of boys reported they routinely used a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher when they were outside for more than an hour on a sunny day in 2013.3

More than half of U.S. high school students had a sunburn during the past year. About three-fourths of non-Hispanic white high school students, 41% of Hispanic high school students, and 15% of non-Hispanic black high school students had a sunburn during the past year.4

References

1National Cancer Institute. Cancer Trends Progress Report: Sun Protective Behavior. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2National Cancer Institute. Cancer Trends Progress Report: Sunburn. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

3Kann L, Kinchen S, Shanklin SL, Flint KH, Kawkins J, Harris WA, Lowry R, Olsen EO, McManus T, Chyen D, Whittle L, Taylor E, Demissie Z, Brener N, Thornton J, Moore J, Zaza S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2013. MMWR Surveillance Summaries 2014;63 Suppl 4:1–168.

4Kann L, McManus T, Harris WA, Shanklin SL, Flint KH, Hawkins J, Queen B, Lowry R, Olsen EO, Chyen D, Whittle L, Thornton J, Lim C, Yamakawa Y, Brener N, Zaza S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2015. MMWR Surveillance Summaries 2016;65 Suppl 6:1–174.

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