Researchers Link Indoor Tanning and Other Risky Health Behaviors among US Teens

Researchers Link Indoor Tanning and Other Risky Health Behaviors among US TeensResearchers have claimed that US teens who use indoor tanning beds not only put themselves at high risk of developing skin cancer but are also prone to other risky health-related behaviors. It was found that teens who use tanning beds increasingly embroil themselves in binge drinking, unhealthy weight control practices and sex.

The conclusion was drawn by Gery P. Guy Jr. of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and colleagues after observing data from the 2009 and 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, which represents 15.5 million U. S. high school students.

The analysis by the authors included 25,861 students who were asked about indoor tanning.  They were also asked about health-related behaviors including smoking, sex, steroid use and suicide attempts.

An estimated 13.3% of US high school students reported using indoor tanning beds in 2011 and they drank excessively, had sexual activities and involved themselves in unhealthy weight control practices.

Among girls, indoor tanning had even worse effects as they were found taking illegal drugs and having sex with four or more partners. Boys, on the other hand, used non-prescribed steroids, smoked daily and attempted suicide.

The study authors wrote, "Public health efforts are needed to change social norms regarding tanned skin and to increase awareness, knowledge, and behaviors related to indoor tanning".

The researchers said ban on indoor tanning will not only significantly reduce the numbers of skin cancer cases but other risky health-related behaviors as well. The findings of the study have been published in the journal JAMA Dermatology on Wednesday.